How did moose get CWD? Star Valley deer, elk likely have the disease as well.
By Ralph Maughan On October 29, 2008 · 22 Comments · In Deer, Elk, Moose, Wildlife Disease
Damn!! In the Greater Yellowstone and on the Idaho border-
How did moose get CWD? Star Valley deer, elk likely have the disease as well. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide.
Maybe Idaho should sue Wyoming for wildlife malpractice?
Tagged with: chronic wasting disease • CWD • elk feedlots • Star Valley • Wyoming
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
22 Responses to How did moose get CWD? Star Valley deer, elk likely have the disease as well.
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Of course all Idaho would do with the money from a lawsuit would be to fund a wolf and predator control program to kill off the predators since now that CWD is spreading the hunters will complain that the combination with wolves and CWD will lower their quotas too much and they will have to work too hard to try and get an elk and they might not. Wa Wa Wa.
Obviously this is really not a good sign.
The problem is that Wyoming honestly feels that it is doing a good thing for wildlife herds by unnaturally feeding them. In fact hunter’s rights groups like SFW even support these feeding grounds under the theory that the more animals around the better. With that philosophy I think you really have to question their true interest in the health of wildlife populations they are trying to feed.
Unfortunately no one supporting these feed grounds seems to have taken any sort of science classes during their education… or maybe they slept through all of them.
The idea of unnaturally feeding and supporting an overpopulation of animals will invariably lead to things such as disease, which has the potential of causing severe damage to these herds. The frustrating part is that these people can’t seem to wrap their minds around the idea that numeric size of a herd by itself doesn’t in any way indicate how healthy that herd is. When it comes to the health of wildlife herds larger isn’t necessarily better.
Although, come to think of it…. if these folks submit to this theory of larger is better, I get about 700 spam emails a day that I bet they would be REALLY interested in reading…
I strongly disagree that “Wyoming honestly feels that it is doing a good thing for wildlife herds by unnaturally feeding them.” I have been studying G&F documents that go back decades that clearly express an understanding of the damage feeding does to wildlife.
Feedgrounds started as a subsidy to the livestock industry to prevent elk getting into haystacks during the winter and has now crystalized as a form of jpolitical capitulation to the demands by ranchers that elk be shortstopped from getting to traditional winter ranges, which now are reserved for cattle.
Finding CWD in a moose near the Forest Park feedground is one of those “watershed” events in wildlife conservation that if ignored, as the G&F is now doing, will change conservation forever–and for the worse. It means we have even less time to close feedgrounds than we thought.
Are these G&F documents you speak of located online? And if so, could you post a link?
Ultimately when I said “Wyoming”, I meant it more politically. Obviously any educated G&F scientist would understand what the biological implications of having these feedgrounds could be. Unfortunately (and this seems to be a recurring theme in MT, WY, & ID) the political power of the livestock industry doesn’t seem interested in the large benefits of healthy wildlife populations.
This is why I believe actual science is used very little in game management agencies anymore. EVERYBODY knew feedgrounds were a problem, including the agencies doing it. The science was ignored because of politics. I’m afraid they still won’t stop feedgrounds now and even if they do, it’s too late to prevent the disease. It definitely makes those of us in the know have very little respect for the decision-makers!
and I wonder how far this is from the presently operating and former elk-hunting-farms…? Do we have them to thank as well?
“This is why I believe actual science is used very little in game management agencies anymore. EVERYBODY knew feedgrounds were a problem, including the agencies doing it. The science was ignored because of politics”
Jimbob: I’m not sure science was necessarily ignored; rather, I think agencies have consciously decided to serve the interests of politically powerful constituencies first. I think they do it because they believe its in their self interest; to go against big agriculture in the West is political suicide and rightly or not, hunters are perceived as paying the bills at G&F. If we (as a society) want wildlife conservation in lieu of game management, we need to stop paying for state agencies with hunting licenses and PR excise taxes.
That statement is both profound, and true.
I grew up hunting and fishing, I still do. But lately I have questioned wether or not monies earned through hunting will ever go toward conservation based on actual need to conserve….or is it more likely to be based on preserving the ability to hunt, the rest is just gravy.
If it is left to the funds being raised through hunting, conservation may always fall through cracks as long as the primary hunts are maintained.
That is what we now see happening with wolf management in Alaska, an attempt at artificially inflating caribou/moose numbers to keep hunters happy. That is not true conservation, but it is the type of management we could likely always see if G&F is always funded by hunters.
ANy ideas on how else to do it?
In the 1980’s, the Idaho Fish and Game trapped Idaho elk from the Caribou Range of Mountains, and sent them to Wyoming to please Idaho ranchers along the Idaho-Wyoming border.
These Idaho ranchers complained there were too many elk raiding their haystacks.
These trapped elk came right back to their beloved Caribou Range of Mountains in Idaho on the Idaho-Wyoming border.
Lets make sure the Idaho Fish and Game never does this again to please Idaho ranchers along the Idaho-Wyoming border.
If this ever happens again, the Idaho Fish and Game will be looking like the disease promoting Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
How do we know these trapped Idaho elk came right back to the Caribou Range of Mountains in Idaho?
The Idaho Fish and Game put radio collars on them to track their movements.
The documents I am referring to go back decades and are found in forgotten files in various archives and filing cabinets around the state. You won’t find them online. I’ll send an annotated bibliography I did several years ago to Ralph, and perhaps he’d be willing to post it, if people are interested.
Regarding the use of science, in G&F science has taken on the character of Lysenkoism (look it up)–science wholly in service to politics. G&F is doing all it can to propagandize the claim that feedgrounds are not the disease hazard that it and others have known for decades that they are. The comments from G&F personnel in this moose story make a good example of this problem. I’d listen instead to Dr. Roffe, who is one of the most meticulous scientists I know.
Here is something that all states need to work toward doing to help solve the conservation problem and force game and fish departments to think more on conservation. I contacted these people on this page and they need someone to volunteer to build their webpage so we can get this to work, so if you could help out in any way please let them or me know.
Vicki, here is the partial website.
I did that LAST YEAR and recruited persons interested in the project and set up meetings and was thanklessly abused by the original idea guy who didn’t seem to appreciate all the time I spent at no cost to them-including hours of phone minutes. Apparently I was supposed to drop everything else, including my income-generating interests, for the benefit of this individual and entirely at my personal expense.
I endured hours of hounding and whining about how no other parties were jumping to commands. And nobody else could have any good ideas on starting up this thing, according to that individual’s comments and actions.
Great idea, wrong person to implement it. I would suggest choosing a new name and finding appropriate individuals to get it up and running as the folks you refer to can’t/won’t make the shift from dictator to team player… And seems to have a problem with women who can think.
Merely my personal observation but also a word to the wise…
I am the person to whom Salle is referring.
And I deeply resent the fact that she seems willing to bring her issues with me into the public arena as well as her mis-characterization of how events transpired between us and her gross exaggerations and downright lies about my personal attributes.
Salle claims I abused her. Not true. This is an absolute lie.
Salle claims I didn’t appreciate all the time she spent at no cost to us. Not true. Her time was appreciated. We had no money to reimburse her and she was aware of this fact.
Salle claims she was supposed to drop her income-generating interests for my benefit. Not true. I never expected or asked her to ignore her job at the sandwich shop she worked in.
Salle claims she endured hours of hounding and whining about how no other parties were jumping to commands. Not true. I never hounded or whined to her for hours nor did I ever issue any “commands” to anyone.
Salle claims nobody else could have any good ideas on starting up this thing. Not true. Good ideas were and are always welcome.
Salle claims “folks you refer to can’t/won’t make the shift from dictator to team player.” Not true. We’ve assembled a great board of directors. There was never a “dictator” and to this day there’s no “dictator.”
Salle claims that I seem to have a problem with women who can think. Not true. Period. What a tremendous insult this is to me.
I offer my apologies to Ralph and everyone reading this post, as a public form is no place for personal attacks. Please understand that I felt the need to defend myself.
Although I’m tempted, I’ll not repeat what others (plural) have said about Salle.
I’m obviously still reading this great blog even though I’m not contributing.
Wildlife Watchers needs someone to volunteer to build our website. Can anyone help?
Mack P. Bray
Perhaps this will create a link:
Salle & Mack
The fact remains that the preservation of the wildlife of Wyoming and ALL other states is not good enough, by far. You both need to grow up and put your differences aside for the better of the wildlife. I am dissappointed in both of you, especially if you call your selves preservationists. A united front from everyone who thinks that states aren’t representing wildlife and habitat correctly and impartially is the only way to win this war. We cannot fight, take advantage, or whine thinking we are holding up our share more than someone else.
Mack, other than the website. What is happening with wildlife watchers, especially as far as the wildlife watching stamp? Have you talked to any state officials about our ideas?
Salle, don’t give up on preserving wildlife no matter what the hell happened with you and Mack.
MACK, my friend, I am very sad to see your return post was due to a personal attack. An attack that is completely untrue.
I am at a loss for words–one’s that are post-able that is!!
Salle and Mack. Please stop it now!!
caleb, Wildlife Watchers is stalled for now. I have not talked to anyone at the state level about our wildlife watching stamp or any other issues.
1) We need a website, but have no money to pay a professional, so we need someone to volunteer to build our website. Brian Ertz, our President, started it, but I know he’s extremely busy with his job and family.
2) We’re incorporated in the State of Wyoming and are operating as a 501(c)(3). Our IRS non-profit status is pending, although contributions are tax-deductible (retro-active, as I understand it). The IRS wants more info and the deadline is early December. I’m the one that executed the IRS application earlier this year so I’ll get busy and send the IRS what they want. Arg.
3) In the spring, summer and fall I spend a lot of time hiking and backpacking in Greater Yellowstone. With winter on the way, I’ll put more effort into Wildlife Watchers.
4) Wildlife Watchers is a grass-roots organization. Once we’re finally organized and have a functional website, it will be up to everyone to help in their own way. We envision the website to be a huge community resource, one which we can use to take positive action to better manage our wildlife.
Our mission statement is on our website: http://www.wildlifewatchers.net
dbaileyhill, thank you for your kind words. It was great meeting you in Yellowstone this spring and I hope all is well with you and yours.
Ralph, I defended myself and that’s all…! The end (I hope)…!
Mack P. Bray
I was trying to be polite when I said “politics” was responsible, and that they “ignored science”. In order to start a program like the elk feedlots g&f scientists had to know and express the worst-case scenarios like disease and artificial migration corridors to the powers that be. I figure the people who approved the feedlots (g&f commissioners and the governor) at the very least were informed—therefore they chose to ignore the science. If they were not informed then Wyo. g&f is not credible as a wildlife/ game mgt. organization. (i’m sure many here would argue that anyway) I agree with your history of how it started—I’ve researched that before. Sometimes I try to be too bland in my posts so as not start some maniac on a rant. The point probably gets lost. Thanks for the help!
Not to worry. I was neck-deep in this long before I ever heard of what’s his name and I have faced off with more diabolical individuals, (like Senator wide-stance, the current sec. of interior and many others whom we “love so well”).
The likes of the above person are small spuds when it comes to my focus on the environment and it’s health. I don’t lie, I don’t have to, I have witnesses. It wasn’t a good situation based on what was asked and expected of me and I know when to sever a tie… and so did the others without my prompting.
All the environmental work I do, past and present, is pro bono.
Good luck to any organization that can achieve the WW goals, I’d love to see it happen. But it takes cooperation all the way around.
Like I stated above; Merely my personal observation but also a word to the wise…
Salle Engelhardt, MPA