Open thread (for any discussion)

This is for any comments you want to make-

Folks have been commenting by posting some interesting material often unrelated to the particular topic of the post. So perhaps there is a need for an open discussion or discussions.






  1. Jeff Avatar

    I saw on the USFWS weekly report that the wondering MT wolf with a GPS collar was found dead in Northern Colorado. I’m curious to know the cause of death.

    Thanks. I made the story into a post. Ralph Maughan

  2. Ken Cole Avatar

    That’s too bad. Probably died from lead poisoning if you get my drift.

  3. Ken Cole Avatar

    Yes, here it is:

    Law Enforcement and Related Activities
    The radio collar transmissions from the female wolf travelling in Northwestern CO stopped moving at the end of March, 2009. Investigators from the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responded and retrieved her carcass. Those investigators are working toward determining the cause of death, which was unknown as of April 8th, 2009. Anyone with information regarding the death of this wolf is urged to call the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 1-877-COLO-OGT or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 970 257-0795.

  4. timz Avatar

    I just took a walk over to the butt-crack fest, oops I meant tea party on the Capitol grounds in Boise. What a joke listening to Idaho Legislators rail against the inept Congress and Federal Government. Guess they needed a break from passing historic legislation like killing bighorns and let people sue for wolf attacks. And of course Leonore Barrett even had to get in an anti-wolf rant, don’t know what that had to do with an anti-tax rally.

  5. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    I’d like to get some feedback on what readers consider to be “fair chase ” hunting.
    For instance …do you consider shooting cats out of trees fair chase hunting? How about tree stands, baiting etc?
    Something else to consider….use of snowmobiles and ATV’s.
    Also like to hear from the “stick’em and find’em” hunters since over 40% of game animals that are shot with a bow aren’t recovered. How can that change?

  6. Ken Cole Avatar


    Just kidding.

    I think bear baiting has several flaws. First it habituates bears to human food. Second, it does not, contrary to popular belief, appear to help hunters identify their target as is demonstrated by several instances of grizzlies being illegally killed over bait. Three, it’s not fair chase.

  7. Jeff Avatar

    I think fair chase entails pursuing game on foot or horse in unfenced (at least not high fence) lands. I have problems with motion detector cameras for scouting, baiting animals, atvs, using electronic calls and or eletronic decoys, and the use of radio/cell phones. Tree stands are fine, but I can’t sit still personally, I use to not favor hound hunting for cats, but after talking to a student of mine who runs lions locally, I have more respect for hound hunters and what they do.

  8. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Is everyone asleep? The Idaho legislature is about to pass
    Senate Bill 1175 which will authorize the killing of any Bighorn Sheep that gets close to domestic sheep and will effectively halt any more introductions of any Bighorns. The bill also authorizes ten special auction tags for wolves.
    In effect, an entire wolf pack can be auctioned off to the highest ten bidders for extermination. The number ten matches up quite well with the number of wolves in the Phantom Hill Pack.
    The bill has already passed the Idaho Senate and will be read and passed by the house tommorrow.

  9. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    How about the bison hunt? From the videos I’ve seen, I’d hardly consider that “hunt” fair chase.

  10. timz Avatar

    “Is everyone asleep?”
    Not everyone, but I’m open to suggestions on how to stop it. The supporters of these bills in the legislature are overwhelming in numbers, have the support of the governor and could care less what the people think. At this point it can only be stopped in the courts.

  11. Jay-k Avatar

    timz, It seems to me if you would dig you head out of you own butt-crack and listen you might actually hear what the tea parties are all about- – it sure as hell isnt about taxes!

  12. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    There were about 50-75 teabaggers in Pocatello, ID. I was going to see what kind of people they were, but when I saw some Confederate flags, I decided not to . . . those flags always make my blood boil.

  13. timz Avatar

    “it sure as hell isnt about taxes!”

    No, after being there for 5 minutes I could see that. I heard ranting about gay marriage, abortion, guns, wolves and every thing else anti-government. I wasn’t there but I’m going to guess most of those subjects didn’t come up at the original “Tea Party”. But that’s how they were described on virtually every web site, newspaper and TV station across the country.

    “Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ being held across U.S.” MSNBC
    “Thousands of Anti-Tax ‘Tea Party’ Protesters Turn Out in U.S. Cities” FOXNEWS
    “Anti-Tax ‘Tea Parties’ Protest President Obama’s Tax and Spending Policies” ABC news
    “Anti-tax tea parties draw thousands ” Chicago Sun TImes

  14. Ryan Avatar

    How about the bison hunt? From the videos I’ve seen, I’d hardly consider that “hunt” fair chase.


    Depends on where its at, the ones in the henries in Utah are very challenging. Do you have any proof to back up your claim that 40% of big game animals shot with bows aren’t recovered?


    Do you have any proof to your claim that any of the Grizzlies accidentily killed were over bait? I seriously doubt this. That being said I hunt black bears spot and stalk and don’t get enough time often determine whether or not its a Sow/Sow with cubs etc. Most bear baiting is highly regulated and not allowed near houses for that very reason.

  15. Tilly Avatar

    Jay-K, You raise a deep rhetorical question: what is teabagging REALLY all about?? I don’t know either. I think it’s really open-minded– nay, downright liberal– that the Republicans are suggesting that we all focus on it so hard this month, though.

  16. Brian Ertz Avatar

    IMO fair chase involves learning the landscape and the animals being hunted & relying on the experience spent in the field to best pursue a species in its own element, as opposed to manipulating the conditions to bring about artificial encounter. That precludes baiting, hounds, etc. It’s about accomodating the wild rather than expecting the wild to accomodate people.

  17. Ken Cole Avatar

    The grizzly killed near Kelly Creek a year and a half ago was killed over bait.

    I also remember reading about similar incidents near Yellowstone on Ralph’s old site.

  18. paulWTAMU Avatar

    I find it hilarious that “conservatives” are advocating tea-bagging (for those who don’t know, it’s slang for a sexual action/position). And at least locally, taxes were a minute part of it; mostly it seemed to amount to pure crackpot junk. I saw someone with a “Keep the white house white” sign for god’s sakes. I know that most of the protesters probably don’t feel that way but it was still icky and killed any desire I had to mingle and voice my anger at the spending bill.

  19. Jay-k Avatar

    Tilly, these “Tea Parties” as I can decipher it, are about federal government intervention into every aspect of everyones lives and taking control of private industry, banks, and individual freedoms. Along with out of control spending of money that we dont have but continue to print. It is not about liberalism or conservatism but common sense.

  20. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I agree Ken, that is probably how the wolf died. What do you think the odds are of wolves re-establishing themselves in Colorado?

  21. Craig Avatar

    As a Hunter, I’d say fair chase is being on foot out in the woods one on one with your prey. I’ve used my ATVs to get me back into remote areas where it is legal. But I hunt afoot from there. I’ve also used them to pack game out if I can get it to a road.
    Ridin ATVs around on roads looking for game isn’t hunting in my book and unfortunatly I’ve seen way to much of it! The good thing I’ve seen with Wolves is these lazy asses can’t drive around and shoot game from roads anymore.
    The wolves have changed their behavior and you have to get off your ass and actually hunt for them. It’s made it harder to find game, but I feel it’s for the better. I’d say the hunters that cry all the Elk are gone because of Wolves are people who are to lazy to hike 4 or 5 miles OFF a trail or road.
    As for Bear or Cougar ,I don’t hunt them but have been on hunts with friends! Chasing a Cougar with hounds is not easy by any means I’d call it fair chase. Baiting Bears over a 55 gallon drum full of Sweets out of date from the Grocery store? That’s some real tuff hunting, kinda like road hunting for Elk over a salt lick! Hound hunting for Bears I’d support, but baiting is wrong! We don’t bait Elk or Deer why should it be legal for Bears?

  22. JB Avatar

    “It is not about liberalism or conservatism but common sense.”

    Just an anecdotal observation, but I find the words “common sense” are often used to frame ideological arguments. What to one person is “out of control spending” is seen by another as the minimum required to prevent a further deepening of the recession. There is a fair bit of common sense in both arguments. 😉

  23. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Ryan…..I’ll search for that info. Here’s a bit more. I spoke to a researcher at the U. of Montana 2 weeks ago. He provided me with another interesting statistic and that was..30% of game shot with a rifle end up wounded. Now that was Montana where there’s no minimum caliber firearm for big game. So you can imagine the number of unethical hunters using insufficient firepower. Hell, we have people shooting deer with a .22.
    As for hound hunting….is it really fair chase when the hounds have transmitters and the hunters are on snowmobiles? It is for the hounds, maybe, but for the hunter to walk up to a treed cat and shoot it at practically point-blank range..I don’t see the fair chase aspect or sportsmanship in it. Someone tell me what’s fair about it, please.

  24. Craig Avatar

    I must add after jerry b post, I’ve only ran cats in snow shoes. have never seen a guide or any of my freinds use snowmobiles

  25. Jay-k Avatar

    JB, sorry for not phrasing things in a politically correct way but, common sense tells me that if I have forty credit cards that are maxed out and no way to pay them off, getting sixty more isnt fixing the problem.

  26. Anja Heister Avatar
    Anja Heister

    Interesting conversation about “fair chase” hunting. I’d be intersted in learning weather or not you think that trapping has anything to do with “fair chase”? I recently had a conversation with a big game hunter who didn’t think that mountain lion hunting was ethical but who was adament in pointing out that trapping had a “fair chase” component.

  27. Craig Avatar

    My opinion is trapping is out of date and has know purpose anymore and should be eliminated. The limits on most game animals are so low there is know way trapping is even a way to make a living.

  28. Craig Avatar

    Ralph, you should make a section where people can post pictures of places they have been and share with everybody else! We all enjoy your pics, let us post some!

  29. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I don’t think WordPress has that capability. It’s a good idea. I know a number of web sites have them.

  30. kt Avatar

    Demarcated Landscapes has had some great info recently about Veterinarian and other perspectives on the Macho B killing.

  31. Craig Avatar

    Well maybe if you change services or they add that capibility sometime it might be somthing to consider! I’m sure it would be very facinating to see so many differn’t peoples expoits into nature!

  32. Greg Avatar

    The snowmobile is useless in vertical country because the cat always heads to the top of ridges and runs across the next canyon to the next ridge, the sled is only good for the roads. The cat circles back and kills dogs and eats them while the houndsmen is hiking after the tired dogs two ridges away. At least that is the case around these parts,

    Also I rarely saw a bear at a bait site at first light, when releasing the dogs, for example one bait site was four miles up Slaughter house Canyon, and most often we found the dogs over at Little Wood Reservoir or deep into the head waters of Porky pine creek, made for a 30 mile day on foot and wore out dogs, with no radio collars you would be weeks finding those dogs.

    If you have never done it, don’t bash it, the guy’s I know turn those animals loose 95% of the time, the satisfaction is treeing the critter, and harvest is least for the independents, This event is not for the faint of heart types, you lose dogs, bears kill em and eat them for lunch while running, Couger’s kill dogs and circle behind you and watch you running circles looking for him while he eats the dog, you walk a 1000 miles in a month, you don’t tree often..

    There is nothing accomodating about getting your arse thumped while hound hunting.. that’s why I don’t go anymore..I am not tough enough to do it.. Also it was just photo ops for me.. Brian, try it some time you’ll love it, and you may respect them after word’s as well.. Take a big lunch, some chases last two or three days..

  33. Craig Avatar

    Sorry for the misspellings, I had to get up at 4:00am and drove 630 miles today! Did see a really big nice Bobcat up off the summit going over the Blues which was the highlight of my trip!

  34. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Craig, I agree, baiting is not fair chase. I don’t have a problems with using hounds. I do think that a lot of the reason that elk hunters think the elk are all dead is because they have moved around more and can’t shoot them from the road. That also makes hunting safer. I used to hunt near Yellowstone and it was crossfire. People were always waiting for elk to leave the park and it sounded like a war zone. I’m surprised more people weren’t shot.

  35. Mike Avatar

    I agree with Brian’s short summation of hunting ethics.

  36. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page


    I can’t say that my experience in the field is in line with the numbers you cite regarding wounding…I know many guys who’ve yet to lose one animal in years. I personally have never lost one (yet), for what that’s worth, and in seventeen years with various partners, only once have we failed to find wounded game (bow or rifle). I also think this trend is improving thanks to technology and better ethics on this issue (although field ethics in general are declining, this is an exception). Go read some of the old accounts from the 1960’s and earlier – these guys took bad shots all the time without thinking twice about it.

    I also think caliber size is a bad excuse for poor shooting. I have no problem with hunting elk on a .25 caliber bullet – if the shooter is skilled. My wife’s killed two with a single shot with this bullet. The problem is most guys buy a .300 and can’t hit a damn thing thanks to lack of practice and flinching from such a cannon.

    As for your other questions – I’d be happy to see trapping disappear completely, although after reading John Haines Alaska memoir, I have a lot of respect for the woodscraft of these guys. Baiting is most definitely not fair chase for any species in my book. As for hound hunting, I’ve got a plott hound, although he’s a pet (offspring from a lost hunting hound picked up as a starving stray). I think if you leave the snowmachines at home and lose the radio collars it’s one of the toughest things to do well. I’d have a hard time with losing dogs, though.

    One final thing: hunting is not about sportsmanship. An afternoon round of golf with a few buddies is about sportsmanship. Hunting is an ancient ritual of pursuing another sentient creature with the intent to kill it (and eat it, for most of us). As an activity that has been around for millenia, with prey that has been honed by generations of hunters better than nearly all of us out there today, it requires time and attention in order to do it well.

  37. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Hunting is a survival tool, not a toy and not a game.

  38. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    All I can say is Wow, there are many conceptions of hunting out there..for me, hunting is a fulfillment of being in the wild, seeing new lands and experiencing the need to provide for my family…yes it often ends in the killing of another animal, which I pay respect to when done and use the meat to replenish the body..

    Hunting is not the act of killing, although if successful, killing can be part of the hunt, hunting is an act of adventure, experience and soul searching..being a person who spends most of my time in nature, I can’t imagine a better way to lean about the wildlife and the world around me, the true hunter often times does not take the shot, but can and will when the need arises, a true hunter is not just a killing machine, they are people who respect the land, the wildlife and the culture of the wild..I really wish many who don’t live close to nature would have an opportunity to take a “Hunt” with a true hunter…

  39. Cobra Avatar

    Amen, Saves Bears
    Hunting is waking up with the day, cool fresh air, no clocks, no phones, no stress. Beautiful landscapes, Beautiful colors, beautiful animals, noisy pine cougars, ( pine squirrels). Again, no stress, no phones, no clocks. Hard work, sore muscles, food that nomally would not taste good but somehow is a gourmet meal in the woods. Time spent with my son and being proud of the hunter and outdoorsmen that he is becoming. A chance to fill the freezer and enjoy the bounties of the hunt. More sore muscles from a successful hunt. I work harder during a hunting vacation than while actually working but somehow feel less worked.

  40. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page

    Save Bears-

    It’s worth repeating here that I wrote “pursuing with intent”…otherwise we’re just out for a hike, which I love to do too. I’d be the first to agree with you that it’s not about killing, but the possibility of killing is what focuses the concentration beyond that of hiking. Same goes for fishing – if the possibility of catching didn’t exist, would you bring the same level of concentration to the activity?

    And, as you might guess, euphemisms like “harvest” and ‘management” and “sportsman” really bother me. It’s too important not to tell the truth and accept my own actions.

    I like to get to know a piece of ground very well over a period of years – hiking and exploring it over and over – learning the patterns of the animals and the seasons. I also prefer to hunt alone, or maybe with one other person in the backcountry. I don’t ever feel like I need to provide for my family through hunting- it’s more of a sense of being connected to the woods when I bite into an elk steak that has been thoughtfully and carefully brought from field to table.

  41. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Amongst todays news in Europe is of a brown bear roaming the Slowenian Capital Ljubljana, a town of about 280 000 inhabitants. He was last seen in a park in the city centre. Police said – after a head count in the local zoo – the bear probably became lost after crossing from the hilly woodlands across the highway belt encircling the city . Slowenia (a break-away country from the former Yugoslavia, about half the size of Switzerland) still hosts about 700 bears, a sound population that feeds populations elsewhere, that suffer from extensive poaching, like in Austria and the Pyrenaes. Slowenia itself has an annual hunting season for bears. This year the quota was lowered from last years 100 down to 70.

  42. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks for this information, Peter.

    I see Slovenia is about 3 times the area of Yellowstone National Park, and about the same size as the occupied grizzly bear territory in and adjacent to Yellowstone Park.

    That is a high density of brown bears.

  43. JB Avatar

    “…common sense tells me that if I have forty credit cards that are maxed out and no way to pay them off, getting sixty more isnt fixing the problem.”

    Exaggeration also seems to be a tool commonly employed.

    FYI: CNN reported this morning that tea-bagging Texans were calling for secession. I’d like to be the first non-Texan to join their cause. Good luck Texas! 😉

  44. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Something I always wanted to share with those who have not yet discovered it themselves: One of the most thrilling conservation web sites on the net, the site of the Virunga National Park in the Congo. Local rangers, struggling to protect the mountain Gorillas, in the midst of a civil war. The link is and the site is in perfect English. They even updated throughout the periods of heavy fighting in the region with some rangers falling victims.

  45. Greg Avatar

    Perhaps Mr. Ertz would share his many years of hunting experiences and adventures he endured and his failures and successes. I would enjoy hearing about them.

  46. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Tom P.
    Several things; One, I’d say the amount of wounded big game more than exceeds 40% across this nation. The ones doing the wounding…and those like kind biologists doing the stats just don’t want to think of this reality. In the area I patrolled for many years, the suppossed elk hunting mecca of all, Thorofare, it was most all guided hunting. Even then, in this “professional” environment, I’d say half of the elk were wounded and not recovered. Of course being close to the boundary some of these guys would take a lot longer shots than they should have. I caught one guide and 4 hunters once who were lobbing rounds so far they didn’t really know where the boundary was. 14 shots and finally a gut shot elk.

    Another time 12 “hunters” emptied all their rifle rounds and then all their reloads on to a group of 4 bulls near the boundary. Finally hit one in the leg before the milling elk took off over the ridge. Probably a hundred shots. I saw it all.

    Around camp and without the hunters, the guides would repeat every day what slob missed or wounded what elk. Of course they didn’t want to admit theywounded a lot themselves. You see the hunter takes the first shot and the guide the immediate second. If the elk goes down then the minimizing guide slaps the dude on the back and says “nice shot, I pulled mine” Of course this confession meant the guide was assured of a $300 tip.

    I’d follow blood trails coming into the Park. At the line I’d be curious how far these tracking wonders had followed this blood trail so I’d go further. Even if it was a half mile to the shot there wouldn’t be much tracking past a couple hundred yards. It was one excuse or another. Like always the need to not get too far from the tied up riding stock.

    Most of the time it was even worse for the few private hunters in this remote country. The reason being the outfit camps would cut unattended private hunter stock loose. Then these horses would go the 32 miles to the trail head. Very effective in keeping competition out, I must say. Of course the hunters could have left one guy with the stock while the other tracked. Or they could have led the horse like I did while I tracked. But then again this might have scared off other elk they could have shot while looking for the first one. If the wounded one isn’t tagged then the second one shot and down can legally be tagged, right?

    Two, could you have you contradicted yourself when you said “MOST guys buy a 300 mag. and can’t hit a damn thing”? They must have been so far off target they then didn’t wound it, I presume? That is the word, “MOST” you used isn’t it? Or maybe the guns were too heavy so these guys never got off the shots in the first place? Therefore, one can’t include these cannon carriers in the fact that very few big game animals are wounded and then go off to die without collection, right?

    Three, Are you including your wife in these assurances of very few folks wounding animals? Now lets see….she shot two elk with one shot. With your training of her to be as good as you, then you have to vouch for the fact she was fully aware of one animal being in line of fire with the one she was dead eye on, correct? And she had to be good enough not to hit any bone in the first one to not deflect the shot and JUST wound that second one for the plate and those kids hungry mouths I guess. She must have aimed for a good body shot indeed, hit it dead on, missed the ribs with a calculated timing of that elks inhalation to expand those ribs ….and then had the timing down pat to know when the elk behind was going to lower its head for that blade of grass …just in time for that wasted small bore to hit it right behind the ear. Ya thats it. Hell of a lot of good training and shooting I must say.

    Sorry I am so cynical, but I saw it all for too many years. I also know what it takes to kill animals. Thousands of them since my pellet gun. I also know the horrors of working on vet supply “farms” during college where I killed by every method imaginable lots and lots of every size animal for its BLOOD, brains and organs. Killing buffalo, hundreds of them field slaughtered by me on my farm over the years, I can tell you it takes a very big bore to kill a big bull with one well placed shot behind the ear. A 30-06 won’t do it. I won a lot of pistol championships in Yellowstone and did very well in the military with a rifle, thank you mamm, but I know what it is like in the field. Wounding and misses happen and it is so easy for folks to minimize this.

    The Keith-Oconner debate went on for years. You, Tom, evidently are part of that campfire laced “rich” debate discussion.

    I say too many “hunters” are starved for the hunter – gatherer origins in a play world ….well enough.

  47. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    I grew up hunting in Northern New Mexico, reloaded, had a small archery business…was really into it.
    Today, I no longer hunt, but spend most of my time hiking with a camera, fly rod, my dogs, and a bag to gather moose poop.
    For whatever reason, I feel just as connected to nature or maybe even more so, than when I hunted. I see more of the plant and small animal, reptiles, birds, etc life than I can remember when I hunted. I’m searching for whether or not it was hunting at a very young age that “tuned me into nature”.
    Appreciate everyone’s comments.

  48. JB Avatar

    What is considered “ethical” often depends upon the state in which one hunts, the species one is hunting, or even the season in which one is hunting. “Flock busting,” for instance is a standard practice for hunting turkeys in the fall here in Ohio, but not so in the spring; it’s also a no-no for waterfowl hunters.

    Moreover, what is ethical depends upon the intent of the law/reg/norm being enforced. The purpose of a lot of regulations is to decrease a hunter’s chance of success; to make the chase “fair” for the animal. Yet this often means that certain types of practices/gear/gadgets get banned that could prevent the type of wounding Bob describes above. In contrast, if your intent is to minimize the pain and suffering to animals, you might consider legalizing all of the gadgets and making bow hunting illegal. BTW, I’m not advocating this approach, I generally have more respect for bow hunters than any other type, I’m just pointing out a fundamental tension between making killing harder and making kills cleaner.

    Regardless, I believe hunters need to do a better job of “policing” their own; that is, hunters need to get serious about drawing a line in the sand concerning what is ethical and do everything in their power to ostracize those who step over the line. This would be a whole lot easier if their was a bit more consistency in hunting policies.

  49. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Peter….thanks for the “Gorilla” website. Fascinating!!

  50. Jeff Avatar

    Do you see any difference hunting birds with a pointer, rabbits with a beagle, or bears/cats with a hound? I can’t really discern any differences in the practices.

  51. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page


    One clarification and a couple other comments…

    Clarification – I didn’t mean that my wife killed two elk with one shot at the same time – what I meant was that on two different occasions, my wife killed an elk with a single shot (her first shot at a stationary elk) from a .25 caliber bullet. Both times the elk died within seconds. Sorry to set you off on such a rant about that. Again, it’s not the gun, it’s the person shooting it. Light caliber do not cause any more wounding than big caliber weapons – that was my point. If anything, as you pointed out in my apparent (to you) contradiction, heavier calibers put a false sense of confidence in poor shooters which may lead to an increase in wounding. I make no claim to being a great shot – I try to get close enough to where I’m confident to hit what I’m aiming at – I’ve never taken a shot over 200 yards, and most at less than 100.

    Having been a guest on one outfitted hunt, and also patrolled for a large operation for a couple years, my experience (although much less than yours for sure) was that people on outfitted hunts can’t shoot and can’t walk – that’s why they’ve hired help. I would say that most DIY hunters are much better shots than the dudes, which contradicts your observations in the Thorofare.

    Your anger at outfitters is clear and probably justified – I don’t know. I don’t like outfitters either. And as for your experience with domestic animals – I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But please don’t tell me that I’m starved for hunter-gatherer origins in a play world. Being in the woods is what drives me to conservation work in the urbanized world – it’s a way to give back for the opportunities to hunt and fish all my life. And if you’re cynical about that after 30 years in the Thorofare, well, I can’t help you much.

  52. Ryan Avatar


    I wonder that too, I love to hunt behind my pointers. There is not a much better thing to see than my pointer all locked up on a bird whether it be a hen phasant or covey of chukars. I can only imagine the exictement a houndsman gets. As for the negative comments, from all accounts I have read and heard, hunting cats with hounds is no easy feat. While successful, its usually very physically strenous (sp). It does offer a much better chance of one knowing there target rather than the usual stumbling across one that results in most kills in areas where that hound hunting is not allowed.

  53. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Jeff and Ryan..
    “I can only imagine the excitement a houndsman gets”
    Is the excitement shooting a cat from 20 feet away, or from the actual chase itself? I would agree that the chase could be exciting if you happen to be on foot or snowshoes…it’s the actual killing of a stationary animal 10 or 20 ft away that I’m questioning the ethics of.
    I’d also say bird shooting takes more skill and if you use a bow, it’s even more challenging. I shot well over 100 flu flu’s (I used to make and sell them), before I ever got a pheasant and I was a fairly decent archer.

  54. Ryan Avatar

    Jerry B.,

    Its the actual chase itself I would bet, Many private houndsmen will tree cats all winter and not even kill one. Bird shooting is easy, but then again I have a few skeet shooting trophys on my wall at home. Its all about the dogs IMHO. I quit duck hunting when my Chessie died, it was all about the time spent in the blind and watching my dog do what it was bred to do. I trained a lab the last few years for my hunting partner, watching him hunt is a pleasure for me.

  55. jeff Avatar

    Jerry B,
    I’ve never run hounds after anything peronally. I’ve just had conversations with a student who has two hounds and he runs lions locally. He trees a few every winter, but he hasn’t ever shot one. Often times they are young or female and he just catches his hounds and shoos away the cat. He said if he ever trees a big tom he might actually shoot one. As for the ethics of shooting at close range…perhaps the most ethical way to shoot any animal is to be as close as possible to ensure an accurate lethal blow.
    Ryan, I grew up in Kansas so I have fond memories of hunting bobwhites and pheasants with friends german shorthairs. I love elk hunting and living in the Rockies, but I do miss bird season in Kansas.

  56. Layton Avatar

    Mr. Jackson,

    Love your experience — to bad it was all in one place!!

    I might even agree that a disportionate number of guided hunters are not the skilled folk that they should be — but, as a whole, what percentage of hunters are guided?? I would guess that it doesn’t even approach 15% in the “real world”.

    Please, give me ANY kind of proof to support this contention that OVER 40% of big game shot goes unrecovered. I don’t think you can do it!!

    Then you come up with ” Even then, in this “professional” environment, I’d say half of the elk were wounded and not recovered.”

    I don’t think you can come up with ANYTHING to substantiate that claim either!!

  57. Cobra Avatar

    I guided for an outfitter in Colorado for a couple of years and yea a lot of the dudes were not very good shots with their rifles, but , I know for a fact in the two years I guided we were not even close to 40% of wounded game. That was over 20 years ago so maybe guiding has changed since then. Out of over 30 elk harvested I can remember only one that was hit wrong and was not found. The problem I saw with most hunters was on the range before their hunt. Many of them would buy the new 300 mag for their trip out west and they flinched like crazy. I asked everyone of them that had the new mgnums what they hunted with at home and most of them would say either a 270. or a 30-06. Both excellent elk rifles. To many hunters are le to believe that if they hunt out west that they’ve got to have a canon when the rifle they left at home would do just fine.

  58. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I’ll answer Layton’s and Tom’s in a rather indirect route.By defining myself maybe the answers become clearer.

    Got to get ready for more killing tomorrow bright and early. Killed two very pregnant cows this morning and tomorrow my son and I kill 4 cows, 7 calves and yearlings (grandmother 25 years or so old born right here on the farm….mothers and daughters and sons I might add) …. and finish it off with three bulls ranging from 4-8 yrs. of age.

    The youngest fella just adores his older buddies. He follows them everywhere. I know this because I watch him. We know to shoot him last. He “gets” to see the horror of their death before he dies. The same knowledge of dependency and nurturing trust helps us kill the matriarchal component very “cleanly”. The three younger vibrant mothers get shot first then their dependents. The old trusted caretaker goes last. You see, as their mothers fall the grandmother will continue huddling the young up till there are no kids left to wrap here “arms” around. Then we kill her as she stands with all those dead babies around her.

    We know what works best to kill. The guns we use to shoot these buffalo in a pasture away from others (they go there when we open the gate because they look forward to going to part of their life long home) includes a lever action Marlin 45-70 (the same one I carried in a thick bull hide leather military scabbord in Yellowstone for many years…and for those smarties who say this wasn’t a gun allowed by the Park Service you are correct…except for me. I was the only one authorized by NPS to use this gun), a sporterized British enfield 303 I’ve had since I was 16 yrs. old, a 30-06 with a low power scope and finally a 458. And yes, all are fitted with reloaded rounds with powder and bullets sized to match each guns particular rifling and accuracy needs. The 303 barrel is worn enough it takes a bit of oversized bullet to catch the rifling. With the other guns it is a bit simplier with matching loads with grains for that gun. Of course if the weather is making the bison fidgety we switch to heavier loads.

    We even have gun bearers just like in Africa and I can with certainty say every gun will be used tomorrow…and every spent cartridge will be picked up. The 458 is reserved for the older bull. He will stay basically in place for a good shot as his role as protector tells him to do. That is, he will stay till the second male goes down … then we had better shoot fast because otherwise he is gone in a bee line.

    All shots are aimed for behind the ear and if any run it will include the area of the neck also. You see, we also know at what locations of the field we can expect them to run broad side to us if the going gets hectic. If in the end a non fatal wound spins it around and it becomes a running straight away shot then the bullet goes to the top of the head. Yes, one has to time it so the head is coming up for the shot to meet it. Some times we miss but it is a clean miss. No up the butt shots on our farm. Anything further than 100 yards means the scoped gun is handed to us.

    Are you still with me you fine hunters? Or do you not want to know what the implications of taking life carries with it. There is no sport to what I do with any big game, domestic or wild. It is all calculated. And there is no vague all encompassing awe or “evil” …or even endless protection dialogue justified with the likes of Chuck Parkers “two hand carry”.

    You hunters, do you have the stomach for what I am saying when I talk of killing? Or would you rather talk of bullets, big bores or sweet shooters? Do you not want to know with every shot you deprive a daughter of her mother (if you are the honorable meat hunter) or end a hero worshipping relationship between a nephew and his mentor …. if you are the “trophy” hunter?

    I ask you to think of yourself when you were 10 or 12 and how the older cousin was someone you thought the world of. Then you will know what responsibilities comes with killing.

    I think “hunters” need to know they are shooting a lot more than meat ….. or by going in the woods with a gun it is a lot more serious than the chance to commune with nature by “hunting”. Everyone of us is shooting LIFE no different than your own.

    Every “real’ hunter defines himself as different than slob hunters by understanding his terrain and being one with nature, but do you really want to understand the animal you kill? The advantages are there. It is so easy to kill when you can use animals emotions ….just like your own…. to get a bettter “bag percentage”. No I doubt you want to. You will be no different than any mother who shuts out the fact her son actual did kill the neighbor next door and that is why he was convicted and now in prison.

    Of course every hunterer – gatherer utilized this knowledge of oneness to kill his food. And of course this knowledge of oneness means he had to come to grips with the responsibility of causing death. He has no option but not only to pray to the one he killed but also to the rest of the family he deprived of this animals companionship. I pray not to “god” but to the animals I impact. There is no way I can not. I believe we eat to live and by facing killings in order to live we know the responsibilities and then finally gain respect for all life around us.

    I ask each hunter to think of your family and what each member of this families emotions are and then you get the idea of what it means to kill living beings. And
    you also finally realize there is no way to define life as lower or higher.

    Then again, maybe you think all of this is hog wash. To me minimizing means one can lead to the hunter being the abuser blaming the abused. Or you numb it out like all those locker plant or kill floor employees do. From what I know, locker plant guys have very high divorce rates and even higher levels of impotence. Guess we just can’t numb it out, huh. the best we can say is this behavior won’t be passed on if divorce and impotency are combined.

    what I write above is the “hunter” philosophy I have. I suggest you consider it. The peace of caring and compassion attained while obtaining life sustaining food is doubled for me. Of course I yell a lot also. Such is the duality of mankind.

  59. Ryan Avatar

    Nice Sob story bob, you can make it all mellow dramatic or you can just say I have to slaughter a few buffalo tommorrow. I’ve slaughtered many steers, sheep, sheep, and goats that we raised from young animals. The goats were always the hardest as they are a funny creature, you can get all mushy about it or put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

  60. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    You can get all mushy about it or put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

    He is saying that he does not do this just for the sake of killing and that anyone who hunts should consider the fact that they are taking a life regardless of whether it is a trophy bull or gophers out on someone’s ranch.

  61. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Interesting narration Bob, I have to say, you have quite the gift of gab. Now I can take it a step farther, I understand and accept killing knowing full well I have taken a family member away from a family, of course where I learned that was in combat during missions while in the military, try staring your enemy down and pulling the trigger of better yet shoving the K-bar in and twisting until you watch the life drain and the eyes go blank until they are devoid of the very life you have taken…

    I accept killing as part of the hunt, I pay the respect due and think about how I have affected the world when I kill.

    I depend on the meat from my kill to feed my family, and will continue to do so, I don’t buy commercial meat products from a store wrapped in plastic, if you were to visit me, you better like wild meat because you won’t find beef or pork in my freezer, it will be elk, deer or what ever wild meat I have taken. I don’t hunt for trophies I hunt for food.

    So get off your cynical high horse with the hunting community. Your narration of what you will be doing is not hunting, you will be killing livestock, which is what your bison are..slaughtering them is part of the business you run..and you will profit from your killing as does any hunter worth his while, only your profit will be financial, because I am sure you will sell some of your slaughtered bison.

    There are many of us that are fully aware of death and killing and I find it offensive that you think you are the only one that can “Teach” us what it is all about…

  62. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Update on the Slovenian bear going “downtown” yesterday: The bear was eventually tranquilized 150 metres from the US ambassador’s residence and 400 metres from the Slovenian parliament. The bear seems apparently lured to the park by the scent of a captive female brown bear in heat, reports said. He was initially sighted at the gate of the zoo, located in the park. It was being examined by veterinarians and would be released back into its natural surroundings if it is found to be healthy. I´m glad they did not kill him.

  63. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Peter, glad to hear that they will release him back to the wild..

  64. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Found the following on Dan and Cindy Hartman´s site today:4-16-09 The Cottenwood Pack (5 members) killed #694 and her pups on Mums Ridge Tuesday.

  65. Layton Avatar

    Yeah Bob,

    That little narration is really cool!! Do you raise some “funny” mushrooms there on your buffalo farm, or do you buy them outside??

    “From what I know, locker plant guys have very high divorce rates and even higher levels of impotence. ”

    PLEASE — explain to me what the hell a locker plant guy’s lack of ability to perform has to do with you being asked to substaniate your (IMHO) obviously mistaken claims about wounding rates??

    Just by the way, cuz’ I haven’t killed a big game animal with a rifle in over 20 years — if you are using a 303 that “

  66. Layton Avatar

    that’s what I get for hitting the “submit” key when going for the coffee cup!!!

    I’ll try again.

    Yeah Bob,

    That little narration is really cool!! Do you raise some “funny” mushrooms there on your buffalo farm, or do you buy them outside??

    “From what I know, locker plant guys have very high divorce rates and even higher levels of impotence. ”

    PLEASE — explain to me what the hell a locker plant guy’s lack of ability to perform has to do with you being asked to substantiate your (IMHO) obviously mistaken claims about wounding rates??

    Just by the way, I think I still remember a bit about hand loading even tho’ I haven’t killed a big game animal with a rifle in over 20 years — if you are using a 303 that “ takes a bit of over sized bullet to catch the rifling.” — You are being very foolish if not downright stupid!!

    Are you casting your own bullets?? Do you swage them yourself, or are you shooting unjacketed projectiles — at buffalo yet??

    Methinks this doesn’t compute.

  67. Virginia Avatar

    I don’t suppose we could change the subject to something a little more uplifting?! I guess I have to quit reading this blog on killing.

  68. Greg Avatar

    I have a D.M.V. in the family, 16 years she has been at this trade. I have seen the pain on a daily basis this person goes through over the animals she has to put down, because their old or so sick or damaged she can not save them. She has never had a successful relationship, I regret her career choice, it has almost wrecked her life, even though she is the best vet I ever saw.. So I agree with Bob, I knew folks who worked the slaughter house, they were sad all the time. I dropped a service contract many years ago, over this issue because what I witnessed at that plant was simply more than I could bare, and I was just fixing equipment once week, I could not imagine seeing that day after day, no wonder the bar stools are full after hours with those workers…… I still hunt and harvest. 🙂

  69. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    The following was located at Rep. Tom Trail’s web site:
    “Western Pacific Timber Co. has proposed the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange which would trade logged over property for part of the Clearwater National Forest some of which extends into Latah County. ” The trade would involve 40,000 acres of cut over timber land for 28,000 in the Clearwater National Forest, some of it near McCrosky State Park. In the future it is quite possible it would be sold as recreational sites. This is one of the highest NF use areas in the state.

    “Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, and Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, were not swayed by Hawes’ overtures, citing continued concerns over decreased access to public lands.” Potlatch Lumber Co. now charges for the use of its forest lands.

    Tom Trail voted no on the bighorn bill.

  70. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Bob thank you for the thoughtful post. It was made more more interesting by the emotions it caused in other posters. Every time I as a non-hunter have talked to hunters about killing they get mad. I always wonder about strong emotions and whether love and hate are so interwoven in killing that it is hard to separate. Some claim they do it out of love and others clearly do it out of hate or in thinking what they kill is evil therefor needs to be eliminated. All I know is that hunters everywhere are going to have to get a handle on their sport and do self policing, set new ethics for new modern electronics, be honorable and manly (or womanly) and stop the so called slob hunters from ruining their sport if they want to continue. This is not a threat or a call to people against hunting to comment but just an observation on trends. When non-hunters out number hunters by a long shot (pun intended) the messiness of the slob hunters, sloppy kills and untrue stories will ruin even the claims of time honored traditions. It is hard to look through a Cablea’s catalog and get a sense of honor, tradition and love and compassion for animals. It is hard for me as a tracker to go out and see the messes left by some hunters and not question what they are doing. It seems to me that hunting, which I took part in when I was a teenager, has gone the way of not something you do as an activity so much anymore as something you spend money on. The commercially driven hunting of today is pretty “slobby” from the look of it.

  71. Jeff Avatar

    Hunting will always be part of our society. There are good apples and bad…this is true with all outdoor pursuits. I have followed many slobs down many a river canyons apalled at their lack of “minimum impact” camping skills, drivers toss trash out there windows on the highway, some ministers preach hate etc…humanity is what it is. I shoot an elk every year here in Wyoming. I’ve never shot a big bull, I’m just trying to get one in the freezer. I enjoy the hunt much more than the kill, that is when the work begins…However I’m not sure there is any difference in me killing an elk or buying burger at the store. If you eat meat you kill, whether it is personal or through a surrogate. Eating elk is what my family enjoys (a liberal New England wife and two young daughters) . The actual time of making a kill always bugs me and I’ve always said the time it doesn’t will be the time I stop.

  72. Ryan Avatar


    Its a hard subject to breach with non hunters. I am guilty of using alot of the new fangled electronic devices. My trailcam is one of my absolute favorite items I own. I love coming home and seeing the pictures that it has captured. Funny thing is, I’ve never killed a single animal I have pictures of. As for the taking of an animals life its both a moment of exictement and sadness. If one focuses on the excitement leading up to the taking of an animal, then your labeled as a blood lusting killer, and if one talks about the remorse and respect felt afterwards then people will misconstrue it as your ashamed of what you do and its hard for most to explain the complex feelings to a non hunter. I know where my food come from and what got it there, its sad that most people dont.

  73. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Ryan I wish I had one of those trail cameras . . this was not an attack on people who hunt and I eat meat too . .If I had the training to butcher meat I would prefer to get my own as well. My point is that if there is to be hunting in the future, just like any other sport that has slobs, there needs to be some hunter to hunter policing done. I thought Bob Jackson’s post was interesting in that the media created for hunters, ie, web sites and magazines do not address the emotion and impacts of the kill except as a product. I just thought it was good to have it pointed out the killing, even to eat, is not a thing to play at. I am just hoping that people who do hunt will react against the commercialization and de-humanization of the traditions of hunting.

  74. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I was gone for a few days but I see, for the sake of all those out there who care a lot about life and death, I need to respond.

    The 303 was a wartime production weapon that ended up with barrels of several sizes. The standard for 303 is .311 but some barrels best shoot with .308 bullets. Others, like my 303, shoot the tightest groups with .312 bullets. This need is recognized by bullet manufacturers and thus they offer these sizes.

    I see nothing wrong with cast bullets for slower speed applications, but for buffalo I need the retained energy lethal capability for the 2000+ speeds with bullets that don’t fall apart upon impact. Buffalo hunters of old didn’t have this capability.

    Layton, methinks it was probably good you quit reloading when you did. Otherwise your writings might not be available for the public to smile at. You see, you and your NRA baseball capped gunshop “pros” make for excellent Darwin Award candidates. I’d smile too except I care more for the animals you wound during your play world experiments than what it takes for you to win the coveted DA.

  75. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    save bears,

    I got a feeling you have been watching the movie, Saving Private Ryan, too many times. You know, the scene with the big German, the knife and the Bronx boy. Or were you actually the guy on the steps?…and morphed yourself into another body through dillusionment?

    And as for a litmus test of associating families and death, did you pray for the humans before you supposedly killed them?…and their families? If so you would be the first. Any killings of like kind species, at least in the human species, means adjustments of thought having to be made to justify that killing. The same self deception happens when abusers blame the abused.

    In war there is degrading of the ones being killed. In WW11, Russians thought the Germans were subhuman and Germans thought the same of Russians. The Japanese thought their fellow Asians, the Chinese, were subhuman and the same for Chinese thoughts of Japanese.

    It was not quite as intense in Vietnam. Thus GI’s limited their bias to the little squiggly guys but not to their women.

    Your supposed killing of men and understanding of this act, I feel, is far from the mutual respect for all life on this earth.

    And how is there a difference between domestic and wild when it comes to an attitude issue of death? Does one kind of animal, have a superior life form than the other? What I read between the lines is a rationalization to define hunting animals as “sport” and degrade domestic ones as sub “human” to the first.

    Both attitudes, however, are indicative of a view of superiority over other life. Additionally if these attitudes of animals are “sport” and “inferior” inclusive, then ones view of animals has to rate on the same level of bias as those seen in war …… where subhumanizing is neccesary to justify kill others.

    I feel without understanding our relationship with life around us we are destined to act out with animals no different than humans, where the abused, go on to become the next generation of abusers.

    Yes, I’m sure you, Ms. bears, knows what killing is but do you know how to deal with it? Ryan’s comment of putting on the big boy pants and “dealing with it” tells me there are a lot of suppressed thoughts and emotions out there. The pants have no legs to stand on. You two want to start a Human, I mean Hunters Anonymous chapter?

  76. Salle Avatar

    Mr. Jackson, I salute you!!

    I have been making similar arguments concerning human specie-centrism for quite some time but get little agreement.

    Went into YNP yesterday and saw two black bears on Garnet Peak. No evidence of winter kill all the way from West to Lamar. Whenever I go into the park and see these wonders, I can’t help think about you and a couple others and wish that I could be certain that others with your sense of place are working there. But I think I’ll be wishing for some time to come…

    My friend and I did talk to a guy that pointed out the black bears who said that the Mollies had been up in Lamar-according to Rick McIntire. There is a den accross from the Hellroaring lookout too. Interesting movements this year.

  77. Layton Avatar

    Mr. Jackson,

    “I’d smile too except I care more for the animals you wound during your play world experiments than what it takes for you to win the coveted DA.”

    Again, you make unfounded assumptions based on smoke and mirrors in your deluded mind.

    You have NO facts to back up your theory that these huge wounding losses even occur, let alone any sort of a method to quantify them.

    In short, you are just another jerk with a theory, waxing eloquent about the mysteries of life and death as YOU see them.

    By the way, I haven’t wounded an animal in many years and my freezer does fairly well.

  78. vickif Avatar

    I haven’t been posting much lately, but I have to say….who gives a hoot about the ‘pissing contests’ that tend to be focussed on here. ( no question mark as it was rhetorical)

    Bob Jackson has, from what I am told, more field expertise and experience with bison than anyone who posts here. He has spent a huge chunk of time observing them in their natural habitat. So what does he have to back up his opinions on how animals behave….duh….years of knowledge. Yes, that knowledge gets to be inferred onto other species. That is part of a process known as science. The scientific method begins and ends with a “theory”. Bob Jackson has a lot of info to serve as reasoning for just that, his theory (far more substaintiated than most I know of).

    And as for save Bears, well he has a hard line approach for his opinions. Adn according to him, he also has years of experience, from a scientific stand point. So he also has expertise that comes from actual field observation.

    What experience, that hasn’t come from behind a scope, do you boast? I am happy to hear where you have had practical or applied hands on training and education to back up what you theorize. Let’s face it, yor take is as theoretical as anyone. And given the name calling you just did, based on someone else having only a ‘theory’, you’d be ranked amongst the very same names…or just a flat out hypocrit.

    Agree, or disagree, fine. But give credit where it is due, and try to see that varying points of view is not a cause for testosterone surges.

    By the way, as crazy as it may seem, I have occasionaly found new info and validity in some of Layton’s arguements. They serve a purpose, just as all posts here do. I know he often serves as the reminder call for what needs to be changed of who needs to be considered part of the equation. But when you look through his occasional rants, you will see he is an intellegent person who speaks from his person view point…which is not all that singular from many in society. So like him or not, agree or disagree, he is the very type of person you should give the most consideration to…educated about his views and probably liked by many of his peers. If you don’t get to a point where you can use what is valid in his agruements you will never sway him or those who think like him.

    (My first year as pre-law a professor told me “The best way to win an arguement is to use your opponents’ arguement against them.” He spent years as a victorious litigator. He never once said, call your opponent names and everyone will find you rational and agree with you. What have you won by doing that? Jack sh@#. That professor was a very wise man.)

  79. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    First of Bob,

    It is Mr. and Not Ms. Second I was in the Army for 26 years, 10 of that full active duty, I went non active after the first gulf war and my unfortunate meeting of a bullet and my hip.

    After that, I finished up my degree and worked for Montana FWP as a biologist doing studies on Bison…as well as predator/prey relationships…

    For the record, I have never seen Saving Private Ryan and I don’t watch war movies.

    You might be surprised to learn, your and my paths have crossed a few times in the past..You will continue to think of me what you wish as will I with you…..

  80. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    This may be of interest in the “wounding animals debate”…..
    From an AP report on 3/12/09..
    Keith Warnke of the Wisconsin DNR and a big game expert estimated that 68,000 deer were wounded and not recovered during Wisconsin’s 2008 hunting season. That’s out of 453,000 killed.

  81. vickif Avatar

    the only thing that prohibits a meeting of great minds is the egos that preceedeth them

  82. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    It’s a matter of public record that Bob Jackson was a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone for years. Obviously, this experience gave Jackson a low opinion of hunters and hunting outfitters. But I would not question his expertise on dealing with hunters and outfitters. In contrast, “save bears” makes all sorts of claims about his background that have not been substantiated.

    When save bears makes a comment on an issue, I don’t give his comment more credence because of his reputed background. I judge save bears solely by the quality of the content of his comments on the issues.

  83. Layton Avatar


    First and foremost, the discussion with Mr. Jackson — from my side anyway — has not ONE THING to do with the behavior of buffaloes.

    It DOES have to do with the (supposed) behaviour of hunters.

    Next, he has not one bit of “scientific” data to back up what he says about wounding losses, it’s strictly “seat of the pants” from a VERY NARROW view.

    As I have stated here (quite a few times) anecdotal data is sometimes good stuff — if it comes from the right place. Viewing the whole wide spectrum of hunters as he views the narrow section of outfitted customers of high dollar operations in or near Yellowstone Park is NOT, IMNSHO such a case.

    The experience that I have concerning the subject comes NOT from behind a scope, I gave up rifle hunting 25 years ago, it comes from a lifetime of hunting all sorts of game in lots of different places at lots of different times and with people of many different backgrounds, I believe that is more “discussion specific” than the viewpoint that Bob advances.

    As far as the discussion about rifles, I was a competitive shooter and advanced re-loader for many years. I think I know something about ballistics and if Mr. Jackson is shooting buffaloes with unjacketed bullets, he is flat out wrong!!

    As for name calling and hypocrisy, weeeelll, Mr. Jackson is no slouch at that either — he just uses his spectacular vocabulary to impress those that are reading his prose. Read again, slowly, you might be suprised about where the name calling started. I simply speak more clearly.

    rant off! 8)

  84. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    My view on this is simply that hunters, regardless of weapon, sometimes wound their target. I don’t know, nor will I venture a guess as to what the percentage is.

    This is where wolves come in. They put the wounded deer and elk out of their misery.

    As I have said before, I’ll say it again. I think the presence of wounded deer and elk and gut piles have been of considerable benefit to the growth and expansion of wolf populations outside Yellowstone Park. This is because the added nutrition comes right at the time of year when a wolf pack is having the most difficult time of the year catching prey to feed what would be its large, but non-hunting pups.

    Better wolves take the elk down than by-standers say, “oh, look at the poor elk with an arrow stuck in its side.”

  85. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I am familiar with Bob Jackson’s background with the park service..

  86. Layton Avatar


    I agree, wounding does happen — but these unsubstantiated claims about (IMHO) way out wounding numbers are just so much wind as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ve never even seen any sort of data about wounding losses with rifles and the only study even approaching any kind of validity about archery was one done years ago on a military base. I seem to remember there that wounding losses were around 12% — but I’m not sure.

    AND I’m pretty sure that no one here would take MY word about any kind of numbers I wanted to advance. 8)

  87. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    This post is devoted to you and straight forward lingo. No prose here. With that I ask you to Read again slowwwly….as you ask others to do. I SAID I see no problem with cast bullets for low velocity applications …. ie. shotgun slugs. I also said we load for the higher velocity needs of shooting buffalo. Thus copper in one form or another wraps every case.

    Oh yes, we do modify the lead tips a bit sometimes for specific needs…like stubbing it off a bit if the round is already loaded the way we want but is now intended for a tube magazine gun.

    As for your focus on wounding rates I didn’t directly go into this because I saw no use discussing something that is tallied so subjectively. I do know anyone in the hunting community…this includes the state and federal biologists who believe in and are supported by hunters…. are not going to honestly search for accurate percentages. If they did they would be doing such things as going to the locker plants and looking at carcasses for old and new bullet wounds. They would first interview these hunters, then look at the carcass and then extrapolate percentage delusion from fact. Thus, they could statistically form up a more accurate assessment. Looks like a masters study to me is needed.

    With my buffalo I look at every hanging carcass for healed over broken ribs etc. (rut caused mostly). It is amazing what a buffalo can come back from. Why don’t those biologists do this with bullet wounds?

    In the backcountry of Yellowstones boundary I also looked for old …and new bullet wounds on all the outfitter carcasses and elk skins I could. I did this mostly to see how far bullets would penetrate….and more important yet where in the body they stopped (against the far skin was by far the most common place for non magnums). This helped a lot in being able to retrieve bullets from poached elk (metal detectors, which I had in Thorofare would not detect through more than an inch of flesh). I could fairly perdict velocity of any given bullet by looking for the amount of blow hairs bouncing back from the entry point.

    From these observations I saw how many wounded animals there are out there. This included fresh wounds where poachers thought there was no evidence I could retrieve from the dead elk (I had a number of cases where the bullet from the elk they thought they missed convicted them).

    As for my supposed narrow geographic perspective of hunters I have spent sometimes months at a time hunting and killing elk and deer in the Bob Marshall past the Gibson Resevoir, in the Bear Tooths on the Sunlight, north of Yellowstone on the Forbes Ranch and Cinnabar, Big Creek, and Dome Mountain, the Crazies, Fish tail, the upper reaches of the Stillwater…the Gallatins North and west of the Park and in Wyoming north of Pinedale and north of Jackson around Moran and Spread Creek. This personal experience still pales when compared to many of the “hunters” I patrolled on. But my experience is not limited to this.

    I saw a lot of ‘hunting”and talked with a lot of hunters while I skied and snowshoed the 2 month Gallatin Late Hunt from 1974-1982. More than any private hunter ever hoped to have access to in a life time.

    Oh, where does it end. I have witnessed the results of thousands of elk shootings and carcasses in Thorofare, yes, you are correct on that Layton.

    And as a sidelite for you O’Conner diciples you would be happy to know I used a Ruger 284 for most of my “big game” killing…scoped that is. A sweet little gun that we traded for the 458 and the need to kill in one shot those 10-20 year old bulls we have on the farm.

    My assessment is I don’t think “biologists” can get a statistically valid wounding rate today. And we sure aren’t going to get hunters to admit with truthfulness when they wound since most don’t even want to admit to themselves they ever do anything other than either kill with one mortal shot. Layton, where do you think the phrase, clean miss, came from? A miss is a miss, right? Why do we have to include the word “clean”. Maybe it is from long, long ago when some hunter-gatherers were rubbing it in with some dude exclaiming he missed by a spear throw. But then again, maybe we “hunters” can fudge a bit, huh, kind of like novice teenagers who want others to belive they didn’t have sex yet.

    Oops, I’m getting off the straight shooting words here, I see, so I’d better stop.

  88. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    save bears–I’m not familiar with a Montana FWP employee named save bears. I’m skeptical the Montana FWP would pay an employee to study buffalo. Study what? Where? And why? There a buffalo in Montana on a seasonal basis mostly on private land outside of Yellowstone. There are buffalo year-round on the National Bison Range, which, until recently, was run by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

    Save bears is former military turned biologist for the Montana FWP, and also worked for the National Park Service, but the comments save bears makes are the kind of sweeping, sentimental generalizations common to barroom biologists.

    The Layton vs. Bob Jackson debate on firearms. Being a backcountry ranger does not make you an expert on firearms. Based on content, Layton gets my vote.

  89. Layton Avatar


    I think you’re probably pretty close to the mark when you say there could be many, more definitive, studies done on wounding rates. I just don’t buy the high numbers that get bandied about with not a lot of information.

    “O Conner disciple”?? Well, not really, but he did push the .270 pretty hard and the .284 was a direct offshoot of it. Supposedly the .284 came about to duplicate .270 ballistics with a short throw, lever action, cartridge. I have a Model 88 Winchester in that caliber that I bought a looooong time ago that was — and I guess still is — as you alluded to, a helluva cartridge.

    I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on the wounding percentages. I prefer to think they are quite a bit short of what you claim.

  90. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Layton–O’Conner’s beloved .270 was a long action cartridge. The .284 is a necked down .308, which fits in short actions. Or medium action if you’re familiar with the old Sako’s which came in short, medium, long. I love my Sako L461 Vixen in .222

    On the issue of hunters wounding game, I think that powerful, hard kicking rifles are a big part of the problem. A few years ago at a shooting range in Alaska, the fish & game dept. did voluntary accuracy tests with hunters. People with 7mm, .300 and .338 magnums could not hit a heart/lung size target on moose at 100 yards.The recoil and muzzle blast affected accuracy. People with .270s, 30/06s did better.

    There would be less wounded game if hunters used easy to shoot rifles. Sometimes less is more.

  91. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    The .284 is not simply a shortened .308. It’d be more accurate to say the .308 is a shortened 30-06. The .284 has a larger case diameter with a rebated rim, in comparison to the .308. The .284 also has a steeper shoulder angle. This usually proves to make tighter groups, as all the Ackley Improved variants and new short mag cartridges attest. The .284 never really became as popular as it probably should have, likely because most people who had a .270 couldn’t justify switching over to it. Of course, the 6.5×284 has become very popular with benchrest shooters and now those wanting .284 brass have to buy the 6.5×284 (was a wildcat for a long time) and neck it up.

    P.S. If Layton loses your contest can I ask that he be deprived of his nightly sniffing of burnt powder in his basement (I especially ask that all freshly spent shotgun shells be removed from the house since they give the biggest high to all those NRA junkies). Two weeks off this stuff should do wonders.

  92. Cobra Avatar

    You said you hace a winchester Model 88? I bought one from a boss I had several years ago for 70 bucks. The stock was cracked but in great shape otherwise. It’s a 308 cal. and what a great little rifle. Since moving to North Idaho 20 years ago I’ve quit using my 7mag. and use the 308. because most shots are within 100 yards. The 7mm is just to quick at close range. I’ve got a guy trying to buy the 88 any idea on what it’s worth?

  93. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I never said I worked for the National Park Service…

  94. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Just in case you’re searching the web to see if I copied and pasted some info on the 284 before you post a response, forget it. “Old backcountry rangers, though slow and dangerous behind the reins, can serve a purpose”. We can even know more than our stereotype dicates.

    The post on the 284 was originated from my past and present knowledge of all things gun (in this case a 284 I had and used for many years)…. and my sons discussions. No cheating here. The sentence in quotes above was plagerized however from what i thought waa very funny movie.

    Layton if you don’t watch war movies, how about comedies? There might be hope in my judgement of you yet (not that you or save bears really cares what I think) if you recognize this quote. No fair, however, if you start going down the street and trying to find people that laugh… to find the answer to this movie.

  95. vicki Avatar

    Hey guy, long time no sparring. Hope you are well.
    I make no arguement that more than one person here throws some names out. (Myself included.)
    But it’s nice to see you read my comment carefully. Aside from that, no issues.
    I too wonder about wounding rates. I’d guess they are extremely difficult to accurately estimate.
    I think it has a lot more to do with hunters being responsible and well trained. I know there is a lot of reaction in the heat of the momment, but I also know that waaaayyyy back in the day we were taught about what shots were feasible to take and have a successful one shot kill. and “Never take a shot you aren’t certain you can make” was preached at us constantly. We did learn from it.

    Most hunters are responsible, some are idiots…..but that is obvious and true of most folks in general. I think that lack of education (basic and on-going) is a bigger issue than ammo.

    But that is a very simplistic attitude about a very complicated issue. I defer to all of the experts here….self-proclaimed and substaintiated.

    You can have your idea on what expertise comes with these posts, and I will have mine. I personally think I’d prefer the input of Save Bears, Bob Jackson, and Layton, over yours. You are just not someone I would personally find to be unbiast enough to offer legitimate scientific arguements….and that isn’t an attempt to be a jerk. I have just read your comments before, like all of the rest. I find them very extreme in some cases, and very gung-ho in others. But, again, I have found some useful info in them as well.

    As far as what Bob Jackson’s field experience has to do with things, well those bison don’t live in the ecosystem all alone. And herd animals tend to act very similarly in many situations, from what I have seen and read. But I am no expert….so it is simply my opinion.

    Bob and Save Bears,
    Thanks for the info, as always.

  96. vicki Avatar

    I meant to say ‘I would not find unbiast enough’. Sorry.

  97. Ryan Avatar

    “I think it has a lot more to do with hunters being responsible and well trained. I know there is a lot of reaction in the heat of the momment, but I also know that waaaayyyy back in the day we were taught about what shots were feasible to take and have a successful one shot kill. and “Never take a shot you aren’t certain you can make” was preached at us constantly. We did learn from it.”


    We may actually be agreeing on something. Most are hunters are trained on what shots to take and what not to take. That being said there are always a few bad apples in every group. Unfortunately there as always a “shit happens” factor. I’ve lost 1 animal in my life, and it was an absolutely gut wrenching expirience.
    It brings up an interesting thought, I have guided and now pleasure fish for steelhead in mixed stock fisheries, no matter what the method, there is always going to be some mortality with C&R of native fish. 1 or 2 a season out of 60 or 70 are mortally hooked, I still have to throw them back even though I know they are dead. I used to have a ton of guilt over this, but have come to see that there bodies creat nutrients for growing generation of young smolts. I guess the point of my long winded rant, is that even though we do all we can to avoid being irresponsible sportsmen, nothing is wasted in nature.

  98. vicki Avatar

    I agree that it doesn’t go to waste. It comes down to a question of what the consequence is, for the animals involved, tose killed and those scavenging. It also has a consequence for us as hunters. So, we shoot and wound an animal that later dies. A bear or wolf has a meal. To some degree we are conditioning these animals, no doubt.

    But to a larger degree, we must assume that our impact is somewhat preventable, and in the instance where it is not….well we can’t blame the animal for eating, or learning where to get an easy meal.

    Either way, our hunt has an impact, on those we kill, those we wound, and those who take advantage of opportunity.

    Knowing that makes us more responsible, as long as we let it have an impact on how and what we shoot at.

    On the other hand, we have little room to complain when it bites us in the ass.

  99. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    In todays McNews (USA Today) there’s an article titled “eating can be energy-efficient, too.” 4-22-08

    The carbon footprint for one pound of beef is 14.8# of Co2, and 20.59 miles of driving. One pound of chicken = 1.1# of Co2, and 1.53 mi. of driving. One pound of soybeans = .26# of CO2, .36 mi of driving.

  100. jdubya Avatar

    Maybe we should have a thread labeled “list one thing that the Obama crew do in the next 100 days”.

    My suggestion would be for Jane Lubchenco, National Administrator of NOAA, to recommend that the lower Snake river dams be breached.

  101. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    If your read the news today about a “Baby gorilla rescued from suspected traffickers” in the DR Congo ( I found it on CNN online today) I´d like to remind you on Virunga NPs site which of course has the full coverage with video.


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Ralph Maughan