Open thread. Discuss what you want.

Since I just closed the thread on Wyoming wolves, I thought I had better open a general discussion.

Ralph Maughan






  1. timz Avatar

    Funny, Palin is calling Defenders of Wildlife an “extreme fringe group”,2933,488571,00.html

  2. Tenley Avatar

    “Black Wolves the Result of Interbreeding with Dogs”

  3. Salle Avatar


    Groen, of IDF&G, has a press release out ~ just heard it on Rexberg, ID NPR news ~ He’s claiming that out of state deer/elk tags are down due to the wolves impacting the population because they have been overpopulating and even killing each other. He goes further to say that resident tags are the same because locals, in hard times, like to go out and get in touch with nature.

    The stupid will stay stupid… no matter what.

  4. JB Avatar

    Speaking of Palin, science supportes might want to take a look at the article “Flies and Projectors and Bears, Oh My” in this month’s issue of Scientific American. It documents the McCain and Palin’s attacks on science during the presidential campaign and calls for Republicans to start paying attention: “Future Republican Presidential candidates: come to the clean energy-powered, low-wattage, high-lumen light. It beats cursing the darkness.”

    More excerpts follow…

    Flies and Projectors and Bears, Oh My; January 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Mirsky; 1 Page(s)

    You’re not supposed to kick a guy when he’s down. Of course, in reality, when he’s down is the perfect time to kick him. He’s closer to your feet, for one thing. But the particular kicking I have in mind should be thought of as tough love. These kicks at the freshly defeated McCain-Palin ticket, as I write in early November, are an attempt to knock some sense back into the group of my fellow Americans who seem determined to ignore or even denigrate valuable scientific research because it’s something outside the realm of Joe the Plumber’s daily activities.

    So let’s review. During the presidential campaign, Senator John McCain repeatedly attacked a specific bit of federal funding to study bear DNA. “You know, we spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don’t know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue,” he said in his first debate with Senator Barack Obama. (That attempt at humor went over like an iridium balloon, which is denser than a lead balloon.) As an article published in February on the Scientific American Web site showed, the money (actually closer to $5 million since 2003) is paying for an accurate population count of grizzlies living on the eight million acres of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

  5. JB Avatar


    Sounds like he’s cruising for a promotion. 😉

  6. Eric T. Avatar
    Eric T.

    Salle, for someone with a resume that would fill a
    3 inch\3ring binder, I find it hard to believe that you don’t know the difference between a press release and an interview.

  7. Salle Avatar

    He’s getting more alarmist in his statements which often indicates the level to which the state will stoop at any given time and probably a forecast of the tone they will take when the feds come back into the picture. The ones from out of state that is…

  8. Salle Avatar

    Thank you for pointing that out, I have a better idea of where to find a reference. If it’s an interview, pardon me, I didn’t get a better reference because the source wasn’t the best, but it might be since it was read as a quote. I thought it was from a press release since those are the norm on the broadcast that I got it from. Needless to say, it’s what he had to say that is of issue here, not whether I cited it entirely properly. I’ll try to locate that none the less.

  9. ChrisH Avatar

    Per timz’s link (thank u timz) Palin says “Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. ”

    I know that some subsistance hunters in Alaska, particularly some of the indigenous peoples, and those who may live in extremely remote area are probably somewhat dependent on game species (some perhaps entirely so).

    Am I,or anyone else, supposed to believe that Alaskans go to a grocery store?! Moreover, there are even planes that bring in grocery orders to remote areas. Therefore, it would hard to be dependant on ungulates for survival.

    The truly unfortunate thing here is that by attacking Palin and her (and other Alaskan politicians), she maintains a media presence.

  10. Ken Cole Avatar

    Here is the press release:

    Fish And Game Makes Wolf Management Plans

    Idaho Fish and Game wildlife managers are making plans for managing wolves, including a possible hunting season, should they be removed from the endangered species list as proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Fish and Game biologists are updating data, reviewing conflict levels, population status and harvest objectives for a fall 2009 wolf hunting season should the animals be delisted, Deputy Director Jim Unsworth told Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners during their annual meeting in Boise January 27-29.

    In March wildlife managers will recommend 2009 wolf hunting season length and estimated mortality limits. They expect to recommend harvest quotas by July or August.

    Managers also are working on plans to make use of all options to control wolves available under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act should wolves remain listed. The section covers the reintroduced wolves in Idaho south of Interstate 90, and it was amended last year to increase management flexibility in dealing with wolves causing problems with domestic animals and big game herds.

    Fish and Game biologists are particularly concerned about elk numbers in the upper Clearwater drainage, where in recent years, hunter opportunities have been reduced by 90 percent and where wolf predation is the primary cause of poor calf survival and a 13 percent average annual decline in the number of adult female elk, which is key to population stability.

    Biologists have submitted a wolf control proposal for the area, known as the Lolo elk management zone, for peer reviews. Following that, the proposal would be released for public review and comment. Once the reviews and comments have been incorporated, Fish and Game would submit the proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March.

    Communication is critical, Commissioner Gary Power of Salmon said.
    “We can’t influence the extremes, but we can influence the people in the middle,” he said.

    Information about gray wolves in Idaho is available on the Fish and Game Web site at: The result of elk survival research is available at

    The tentative minimum estimate of Idaho’s wolf population at the end of 2008 is 824 wolves in 88 packs and 38 breeding pairs. Most of the growth in 2008 was in northern Idaho, north of Interstate 90. Confirmed wolf depredations in 2008 were 104 cattle, 215 sheep and 14 dogs.

  11. Ken Cole Avatar

    It’s interesting that they say that wolves are overcrowding and are killing each other in the same sentence. This is how wolves control their populations and now the IDFG wants to kill more of them so they won’t kill each other?

  12. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It looks like Idaho Fish and Game is now down in the same league as Ron Gillette, spouting a mishmash of false statements and even those that are logically contradictory.

  13. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I would like to know where the~ 15% reduction per year of elk and deer comes from.? based on what base numbers? what time line? what data? cough it up Cal

  14. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    per the statesmen story

  15. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    The folks at IDFG need to go back to college or have an textbook regarding ecology thrown at them.

  16. Ken Cole Avatar

    Notice that the press release points you to their elk survival study website. Specifically, there is a sub-page that refers to the Elk Survival Research Update.

    Notice that the numbers are all over the place and that some of the below objective areas have very few wolves. Can the IDFG really say that wolves are the cause of declines in many of these areas? Honestly, there is not enough information to determine anything like that. What would account for some of the differences shown here and what would account for the differences in wolf predation among the areas? Could it be that some areas like the Lolo zone have older and less healthy elk and less forage to support them?

    Remember the 1910 fire burned much of this area and for decades Ceanothus velutinous was a dominant forage for elk. Now, 99 years later, the ceanothus has been replaced by evergreen trees and Spotted Knapweed which is not a good forage for elk and reduces biodiversity. It’s not good elk habitat anymore.

  17. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    We’ve received late word the HB 253, the Montana Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act of 2009, has failed this afternoon in committee.

    I am not in the least surprised, and I hope people will use yet another slap in the face by the government of Montana as a reason to wake up and consider different ways of putting pressure on policy makers.

    I’m trying to get a list of votes for and against; I don’t have any other information, except that an amended version that focused on the rights of property owners also failed.

    Apparently, Rep. Mike Phillips will be on the CBS news stations at 10 PM giving an interview.

    This is all I have from Glenn Hockett, who put his heart and soul into this bill.

  18. Ken Cole Avatar

    John d.,
    While I fault IDFG for this I don’t fault everyone at IDFG. Many of the biologists are being told what they can and can’t say mostly through political pressure like that exerted on Dave Parrish.

    The IDFG is being pressured to come up with this plan for many reasons and I just don’t believe that they are an impartial party anymore. They are not making decisions based on science like they used to.

  19. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    There are a lot of good people in ID Fish and Game, but they need their jobs. Idaho is the last place you want to be during a recession.

    So they do what they are told.

  20. Jim Avatar

    Bear in IL. It is actually really far south of the WI state line.

  21. davej Avatar

    Which House committee had this bill? Ag?

  22. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    No, FWP.

    Apparently, according to one blog, the Republican supporter Ted Washburn didn’t ultimately support the bill. I’m still trying to confirm that. If so, it would mean 1 Democrat defected as well.

    Last time a version of this bill was in front of House, it failed 10-10 back in 2005; this result is worse. The only bright spot is that bison advocates built a much broader coalition. But, for what? This tactic isn’t working, and I think I’m going to the GWA meeting on Wednesday to talk strategy with them. I know they’ll keep fighting, but I want to know what’s next? We always knew this bill was doomed ultimately, but I still don’t have a good sense of how they use this defeat as part of a larger strategy. What is the larger strategy? Hopefully, not this again …

  23. Layton Avatar

    For a couple of years when I first was made aware of this blog the common anthem being sung when anyone mentioned wolves hurting ungulate herds was “Fish and Game’s numbers don’t show that”.

    Now, when the numbers are starting to come in that people in the woods were warning about, the cry seems to be “they’re lying”.

    And the really sick part about it is that some of the folks that are dancing to that tune really believe it. They believe it (gasp) anecdotally!! They have no numbers, no studies and no “facts” to back up what they are saying. What happened there??

    The warnings have been there. They have been there for several years, but you folks chose not to believe them. Now the studies and the research are on the F&G’s side and you STILL choose not to believe them.


  24. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Idaho Fish and Game claims they have a study on wolves and elk in the upper Clearwater. No one in the public has seen it.

    Why would that be? A copy has been requested.

    Maybe they don’t know how to make copies, but more likely they don’t think the study can bear scrutiny.

  25. Ken Cole Avatar

    What numbers would you be talking about Layton? The numbers that IDFG has presented don’t tell the whole story. They are simplified to the point that you can’t really make any judgement at all. Lay out the case for this Layton.

    If the numbers are there then why won’t they release them to the public? The numbers they have released don’t show that wolves are the cause of elk reductions. They only tell a very small part of the story. These are very complex issues and to simply release numbers without any of the metadata such as the age of the elk killed, the health of the elk, the quality of the habitat and so many other factors is not going to convince me.

    I say there are habitat issues and IDFG can do all the killing they want but the habitat won’t support many more elk than exist there at present.

    Here is an analogy that could be made.

    Put a bunch of elk and wolves together in habitat that has no food for the elk. Which species do you think will increase and decline? The elk will decline and the wolves will increase.

    Now, put a bunch of elk and wolves together in habitat that is optimum habitat for elk with a lot of food. Both elk and wolves will increase in population until either there is no food for the elk or the wolf densities become so high that wolves end up killing each other in large numbers and limiting the growth of their population.

    The biggest factors that influence ungulate populations is climate and habitat not predation.

    Learn the difference between compensatory and additive predation and maybe you can make the case.

    That’s what amazes me, after all these years you still don’t seem to understand this simple concept and it appears that you don’t want to.

  26. Elkchaser Avatar

    I don’t see how the wolf issue is every going to resolved other than in the courts.
    The pro-wolf crowd doesn’t trust or believe the Game & Fish departments and the hunters.
    The hunters don’t trust or believe the pro-wolf crowd and the NGOs.

  27. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    According to Glenn Hockett, as he understands it, Ted Washburn, who was praised as a bill supporter, voted against HB 253. The Democratic defector was Paul Beck, a rep. from Red Lodge.

    I just heard Rep. Mike Phillips on the lead story on KBZK (CBS in Bozeman) do a phone interview. He did as good a job as one can expect. He said way back in June that this bill would fail without FWP’s support, and they did not support the bill (though they were officially neutral – everyone on the inside knows they did not support it). So, it was doomed.

    I thought it was odd that Washburn had never signed on as a co-sponsor since he was supposedly a solid supporter and was even quoted in the press as such. But, he never did sign on, and he ultimately backstabbed bison supporters – can’t say I was surprised if you see the garbage the guy otherwise proposes in the state legislature.

    GWA was expecting the vote to happen next week; they are upset there was no public notice. Even the operator in Helena at the Capitol wasn’t aware a vote was taking place. Glenn told me that personally; there anger over this was also mentioned on the news.

    I’m sure sometime tomorrow, the link from what I just heard live will appear on the Montana’s News Station Web site.

    I guess the only mystery is whether Daniel Person of the Chronicle will get the bill number right (or anyone at the Chronicle; an editorial in support of the bill used the wrong bill number).

  28. cobra Avatar

    Ken, just how much time do you spend in the outdoors in Idaho? Maybe the people that are in the woods actually do know what’s going on. We’ve been seeing wolves in areas that are never shown on their wolf population and densities maps. The decline in herd numbers can’t all be blamed on habitat and predation can effect numbers even in the most perfect habitat. Just cause you read it somewhere doesn’t always mean it’s so. Wolve’s need to be hunted in the entire state including north of I-90. If treated like cougars with all kills reported there will be a good chance that illegal kills will drop and everything wil be all right. If not delisted sportsmen who feel as though there hands have been tied might just loosen the ropes and take matters in to their own hands.

  29. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I’ll speak for Ken. Few people in Idaho know the backcountry like Ken does, especially the fishing streams.

  30. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    I always love to hear our noble Sportsmen threatening to loose their countenance if not granted their will. Our sporty Sportsmen here in Germany always insist that they are more than willing to accept the wolf back in town if given the rights and tools to manage them (all two dozen!) , but if not……… they cannot guarantee anything.

  31. Ken Cole Avatar

    Thanks Ralph.

    Cobra, the “sportsmen” are already doing it.

  32. JB Avatar

    “Wolve’s need to be hunted in the entire state including north of I-90.”

    I find this to be a fascinating statement. Why on earth would wolves “need” to be hunted? And whose “need” is being satisfied by wolf hunting?

    The implicit assumption of such comments is the mantra of the western hunter (I’m paraphrasing): “if wolves are not hunted they will overpopulate and kill all/most of the elk, deer, moose, etc.” The “needs” being satisfied under this mantra are those of (1) human hunters, who apparently need more game, and (2) elk, deer, moose (or game, in general) who apparently need to be saved from wolves.

    The latter myth is easily dispelled. First and foremost, big game species appear to be doing quite well in the presence of wolves. I’ll not restate stats again, but let it suffice to say there still appear to be plenty of game for hunters to hunt (I’m sure Layton has some anecdote to counter this claim, but these exceptions–which always exist–prove the general rule). More importantly, wolves co-evolved with these species–that is, they coexisted for thousands of years without human intervention; actually, they co-existed on a landscape with MANY other predatory species that went extinct (at least in part because of human hunters) some 10,000-15,000 years ago. Thus, I think it is clear (to any that are paying attention) that big game species do not need to be saved from wolves. Whether they need to be saved from humans is a question more deserving of debate.

    The notion that hunters “need” more game is also easy to refute. The simple fact is that Americans are overfed; in fact, we’re so overfed it is likely to cause problems for our health system (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, etc.) for years to come. We certainly do not “need” more red meat in our diet (I’m already rolling my eyes in anticipation of the subsistence argument).

    But perhaps the mantra refers to a psychological, rather than a physical need? That claim is more problematic. How do we continue to provide hunting opportunities for a population that keeps expanding and converting the habitat of these species to roads, shopping malls and suburbs/exurbs? I don’t have an answer. But for now, wherever wolves exist in the U.S. they exist alongside of human hunting. In fact, across much of the country we’re now extending seasons and adding additional harvest opportunities because deer populations are exceeding management goals. Thus, at least for now, there is no shortage of opportunities to hunt.

    I support the notion of killing/controlling habituated or food conditioned to protect human safety. I support the killing/control of wolves that kill pets or livestock on private lands. I even support the hunting of wolves in areas where they are likely to come into conflict with people. But the notion that wolves “need” to be controlled is horseshit.

  33. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I feel Idaho G&F, as well as the other “wolf” states G&F dept. are to blame for any elk/wolf numbers perceived problems. The balancing act these predators (wolf in this case) and herd animals have works only if the herd animal (elk) is allowed to develop and maintain herd (family) extended family infrastructure. The way the G&F biologists focus hunting on individual “harvesting” means ALL public hunted elk herds today are very dysfunctional…and thus vulerable to wolf predation. The only well infrastructured herd I know of in the US of A still with functional infrastructure is located on Yellowstone’s non migrating SE arm of Yellowstone Lake (300 head). I watched these animals from the 70’s and through the introduction and establishment of wolf packs in the area. Infrastructure has maintained this herd very well.

    Without infrastructure heard animal defenses goes down. when we talk modern times hunting kills off the protectors and deflectors, the mature males. Without the male components “refuge” camps of cow calf herds form up. These are then easily spotted and hunted by the outfitters in the area I patrolled , the Thorofare of Yellowstone and the Bridger Teton. The few bulls in these herds are picked off with rifles making matters even worse.

    A normal infrastructured elk herd would have a much higher male population. ideally, in the summer the mature male component would be ringing the cow- calf groups up to 2-3 miles off, the same as the bison bulls function in Yellowstone. In the fall the 5-6 points would be closer but stil ringing the rutting bull harems, all bugling. The effect of functional elk herds deflects and pre warns the vulnerable cow -calf herds ….. which the wolf packs seek out on their weekly circle hunts. Bugles today in male impoverished herds leads wolves right to the cows and calves rather than confusing location.

    Yes, there always was individual killing by Native Americans, the OTHER predator. I know because I would find their rock blinds …all no more than 15 feet of game trails. Most were so close I’m sure they used spears, not bows and arrows.

    But a look through recorded history shows they most hunted elk the same as they did bison, as a group surrounding the whole family of elk. The larger the extended family of humans the larger the extended family of elk being hunted. Surrounded elk would circle in a milling manner the same as what I saw while patrolling the late Gallatin hunt ….where 50-60 androids with guns would circle a group of 50-60 elk out in an opening and commence cross firing upon each other.

    I say androids because the Montana G&F biologists would shuttle half of the shooters into the Park for a Gallatin river crossing, put up by them, so hunters could cross and shoot at these elk from the Park boundary…the idea being keeping the elk from going back into the Park. The other half crossed at the Park boundary North of the Park under the cover of darkness. The other rangers and myself would watch it all with binoculars. The massing worked and sometimes all the elk were killed as they milled in tight patterns. Since bullets were flying through the trees point blank at each other the androids stayed behind them much like one sees soldiers seeking protection as in war movies.

    It all was very sick in todays climate but the point is to say group hunting by indigenous peoples allowed maintaining herd infrastructure of those groups of elk not hunted.

    Without Idaho G&F changing hunting regulations so core herd infrastructure is first developed, and then maintained, one has to put the blame squarely on THEIR shoulders for any “lack” of elk numbers caused by wolves. Give the animal the tools and they will do very well, thank you maammmm.

  34. Salle Avatar

    “Put a bunch of elk and wolves together in habitat that has no food for the elk. Which species do you think will increase and decline? The elk will decline and the wolves will increase.”

    Actually in a temporal sense, the elk will decline first, then the wolf population will decline within a year or two later as a response to the lack of elk, given there is no other suitable prey within the range established by the wolves. Many studies indicate this factor as a basic character of the predator-prey relationship.

    Wolves “self-regulate” their population size, there is no need to hunt them or manage them to make adjustments to predator-prey relationships. Nature isn’t dialed in to the US business/capitalist model and doesn’t have the same fiscal calendar so I think there should be consideration of this factor as well.

  35. Salle Avatar

    The radio is still harping the Groen statement this morning…

  36. Ken Cole Avatar

    You are right Salle, another factor is how many animals you start with which, of course, didn’t happen in this case. Elk were here then wolves were brought in small numbers. Places where elk were at high densities in comparison to the habitat did decline and places where elk were at densities that matched their habitat did just fine.

    I’m not saying that elk aren’t declining in some areas, I’m just saying that predation is not the underlying cause for that decline. If there is an unhealthy elk population then they are much more vulnerable to predation but also more vulnerable to the whims of mother nature through harsh climate like the bad winter we had last year.

    If more resources become available through something like a fire then the elk numbers will increase. I think that is one thing that is likely to happen in the burned areas east of Cascade and McCall unless weeds take over that country. The same could be said if there were to be a large fire in the Clearwater region except the knapweed problem would impossible to control.

  37. Salle Avatar

    I agree with all of that. I just thought a little clarification was helpful.

  38. ChrisH Avatar

    I am searching for a reliable independent source regarding elk predation in the Clearwater Basin. The links below are not studies but they give some more info if anyone is
    Interested. ecosystem_defense/federal_agencies/Forest_Service/Region_1/Clearwater_NF/misc/Log%20for%20Elk%20collaboration.doc

  39. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    This is the only report I have seen put out by IDFG. Note the very low numbers of elk calf taken by wolves in comparison to bears and cougar (page 42). Also they point out on several graphs (pgs 33-35) when wolves were introduced but don’t show the winter of 1996-97 when an estimated 50% of the elk died due to 200% above average snowfall.

    Effects of Wolf Predation on
    North Central Idaho Elk Populations
    April 4, 2006

  40. Layton Avatar

    “If more resources become available through something like a fire then the elk numbers will increase. I think that is one thing that is likely to happen in the burned areas east of Cascade and McCall unless weeds take over that country.”

    Well Ken,

    Sorry to disappoint you, but it would appear that your “think” isn’t very accurate.

    I’m not going back and research elk numbers before and after the big forest fires in 94 and then again in 96(?) but I will tell you that many of us hoped for the same thing — and increase in numbers — after all it had happened before.

    Well, it did NOT happen. I would venture to say that the elk population in those huge burned out areas is lower now than it was then. Or isn’t 15 years enough time?

    Also, if you add the fires of 07 to that you will find that there are very few elk at all in the burned areas. I was there before those fires, during the fires and after the fires. I’ve seen it, I feel that I know it. Yes, it’s only been 2 years, but there was some regeneration of forbes last fall and there was nothing to eat them. I’ve seen elk in burned out areas come for miles after the first rains to get the tender grass that grows after a fire, that was not the case last fall — there weren’t even any tracks for miles!!

    By the way, I do know the difference between additive and compensatory predation — it just seems that the wolf worshipers are very prone to put ANY predation in the column under compensatory.

    “The biggest factors that influence ungulate populations is climate and habitat not predation.”

    That’s your theory, it would appear that in the eyes of the biologists of F&G that is not the case here.

  41. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page

    On an entirely different note…

    The link below will take you to the Idaho Department of Water Resources page on the recently approved (by the Water Resources Board) Eastern Snake River Aquifer management plan. It’s been a little under the radar (at least here in the Magic Valley) but it’s worth reading. This is the road map for how the IDWR intends to bring the aquifer back into balance. What’s most notable is the discussion on conservation methods, potential drying-up of ag, and groundwater to surface water conversions. It’s good to see these topics start to be discussed among the ultra-conservative water buffaloes of SE Idaho. It also represents the start of a good opportunity to do something about improving streamflows in Southern Idaho (and eventually getting legislation that would enable programs to improve flows elsewhere in the state.)

    As one might expect, the plan doesn’t give much credence to fish and wildlife concerns, among other bad ideas (cloud seeding? c’mon…let’s be real) but it’s a good starting point for real changes 15 or 20 years down the road.

  42. JimT Avatar

    Just a quick note to let you know that Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund President Rodger Schlickeisen will appear on Larry King Live tonight (Friday, February 6th) with Ashley Judd to talk about Eye On Palin — our campaign to expose Governor Sarah Palin’s anti-conservation record.

    The show will air live tonight on CNN at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific time, and replayed at midnight Eastern/9 p.m. Pacific.

    Our campaign is off to a tremendous start — millions have seen our video since it was featured on The Today Show, The View, CNN, MSNBC and hundreds of blogs and news articles around the country. Over 45,000 people have sent messages this week calling on Governor Palin to end the aerial killing of wolves.

  43. John Glowa Avatar
    John Glowa

    I just wanted to let folks know that we’ve submitted another petition to Interior asking the feds to give wolves here in the northeast the protection that they’re legally entitled to. Secretary Salazar wants to “clean up the mess” at Interior and President Obama says that his administration “will not deny facts…(but)…will be guided by them.” We’ve submitted seventeen pages of facts documenting the presence of wolves in the northeast and citing the need for federal intervention to counter the blatant disregard for wolves by the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Here is the address for the petition in its entirety as posted in Jon Way’s Eastern Coyote Research website.

  44. kt Avatar

    Tom Page: I look forward to the day when Idaho does enough cloud seeding to get Pat Mulroy and the Colorado River water users riled up as Idaho robs water from clouds that would have rained on Colorado headwaters. THIS will be fun to watch.

  45. Salle Avatar

    I’ve seen some mention of the Ashley Judd ad on nearly every national news service I’ve visited in the past two days. Good blanket coverage, hope it gets a good response.

    Just saw the Larry King show, it’s in the third segment. Interesting that it was a topic on “The View” today as well, so it is a topic of discussion on the airwaves this weekend. The Alaska F&G guy that Larry calls is offering the Idaho stance; “…you don’t live here so how could you know anything about it?” And he also claims that no biologists in Alaska are making such claims… go figure, they’re appointed by the governess.

  46. ChrisH Avatar

    How many elk do Idaho hunters need? That probably seems likea snide remark (and actually it was untilI gave it more thought). Is the need for more elk basedon all members of the population or do you need more cows for recruitment purposes? Perhaps you need more bulls for trophy hunting.
    The thing is, although it is difficult to compare the dynamics of different ecosystems, it would pay to look at the Isle Royale situation. Since the wolves crossed the ice, that predator-prey relationship has had many oscillations, yet both still exist. The wolves are highly inbred and donot really have any alternate food sources. The moose cannot escape the wolves on that small island. Actually, the moose arrived at the island by swimming so it is possible. However, I have not heard or read of any immigration or emmigration of moose (or wolves). The moose also have limited food sources which also oscillate with the moose population. The moose in general at Isle Royale have very heavy tick infestations. In spite of limited food sources for both moose and wolf and the other factors that work against robust populations, the wolves have not
    eliminated the moose population.
    So although I realize that Isle Royale is a very simple ecosytem compared to the Clearwater, I think it shows that it is very difficult to eliminate prey species in the worst of circumstances. Moreover, I have never heard of this occuring anywhere. If it has I would really like to knowabout it because it would be remarkable.
    Back to the original question: how many elk do hunters need?

  47. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    How many elk do wolves need? That’s a question similar to how many do hunters need?

    Both are largely beside the point because wolves reduce elk populations only slightly, if at all.

    No good, meaning refereed study, shows wolves have caused any reduction of elk populations in wolf occupied habitat in Wyoming, Montana or Idaho. In fact when the USFWS approved the Jan. 2008 new 10j rule, the Service specifically said the states likely could not prove that wolves hindered attainment of their game population objectives.

    CaL Groen’s sudden public hysteria is due to the Fish and Game Department’s desire for a license fee increase. The livestock associations will not grant this unless he and the department show they are suitably under their boot.

    It’s sad . . . quite pathetic.

  48. Brian Ertz Avatar

    ralph is right — jim unsworth, deputy director at IDFG actively lobbied the cattleman’s association at their annual convention this year for their support in the state legislature to increase the out of state license fee on the pretense that perhaps monies via their increased license fee (under the auspice of the ‘access yes!’ program) could be used to contribute to control wolves. it was too bad watching a representative of the department that prostrated before a special interest group like that…

  49. Salle Avatar

    “…watching a representative of the department that prostrated before a special interest group…”

    And so the “heritage” of wildlife politics in the west…

  50. JimT Avatar

    Is that anterior or posterior prostration..inquiring minds want to know…~S~

    Sad. It seems as if Idaho state folks have drunk the KoolAid of Cheney, and sheer rhetoric and shouting is the tactic of the day. Again, I say…Cattle are the linchpin of solving the predator problem in the West. Them, and the folks who want to “save” the biggest elk to lure in out of state folks who will pay tens of thousands of dollars for a head on a wall. Cudos, Ralph, for speaking truth about the elk and wolf studies, plainly and concisely.

    I thought Ashley Judd was incredibly well prepared, and even outdid Rodger. The Alaskan guy was a moron, as much as saying the ONLY good science is Alaskan science and that, of course, is sponsored by the FG folks to come out to an agreed upon solution. I would like to see this guy and Doug Smith, wolf biologist from the Yellowstone Institute, debate on Larry King. LOL.

  51. JimT Avatar

    Hey, I just had an idea that should make Ralph sit up and take notice..

    The First Annual Bloggers Meet-Up at his ranch this summer….

    Ralph? ~G~

  52. Salle Avatar

    That’s s pretty big area, at which part would you be interested in meeting?

  53. outsider Avatar

    Brian, I looked up Access yes, and as hunter I don’t see anything wronge with it. If I hunt in TX or AK I have to pay a hunting lease, so whats wronge with the state paying for my ablity to access those properties? Unless the landowners are getting paid over 4 bucks an ac per person I don’t see a problem. BTW the 4 bucks is kinda standard and is per speices, deer, birds, pigs, ect. Kinda looks like maybe this program is a win for the people of Idaho. Basically free access to and through private property.

  54. Ken Cole Avatar

    I don’t believe that Brain said anything was wrong with the “Access Yes” program but it could be used by the ranchers as a way to influence policy of the IDFG. Ranchers are probably threatening to drop out of the program if IDFG doesn’t use license funds to kill wolves.

    IDFG shouldn’t be cowering to the livestock industry just because they want to raise license fees. That is the point I think he was trying to make.

  55. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Access Yes isn’t a bad program – a state Department head actively lobbying a special-interest group for support of a fee hike for the program, in the context of an Cattleman’s Assoc. agenda meeting discussing funding mechanisms for wolf “control” – that’s fishy

  56. JimT Avatar

    Salle, I think at his house would be the best place…whether or not Ralph agrees…VBG..

  57. outsider Avatar

    Ken and Brian, I glad to see were on the same page here with Access yes being a good program. But Ken I view the ranchers decsion to stay in or drop out of the program their right after all its their land that they are inrolling. If they didn’t try to use their land, which is one of their biggest assest to get things they want I would be disapointed in them. It no diffent than you useing your money which is another form of an assest to influence elections via campain donations. Also I think that I have heard on this blog before that the ranchers really don’t have that much private land or in very key areas, I’m kinda confused is their land something that we need access to or through, or is it insignificant?

  58. Ken Cole Avatar

    Honestly, I don’t know how much land is in the Access Yes program. That being said, I don’t think that IDFG should let that sway their policy either. It seems more and more that the “landed elite” are dictating wildlife policy.

  59. Brian Ertz Avatar

    It was not the Cattleman’s Association’s idea to use any leverage with the Access Yes program that was troubling, what was troubling was that Jim Unsworth, Deputy Director of IDFG was asked to comment on an agenda item about how Wildlife Services might get more monies for “control” actions on wolves given the Cattleman’s expectation that the new administration would not be a promising source. Jim took the opportunity to lobby the group for their support in the state legislature, suggesting that a fee increase requested under the auspice of Access Yes, might free up dollars to match toward WS’s wolf “control” program.

    Whether you agree with Access Yes or not, it was a corrupt suggestion to slide through dollars to kill wolves under the false pretenses of that program.

  60. kt Avatar

    Here are a couple of recent Blog posts on the Defenders Ashley Judd ad on the horrid policies of Sarah Palin in Alaska wolf slaughtering.

    Then this – It sounds like a contest is brewing …


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.

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Ralph Maughan