Darted grizzly cub died of ruptured jugular vein

Vein was not hit by the tranquilizer dart-

They have been unable to find out how the vein ruptured.

Story in the Daily InterLake. Darted grizzly cub died of internal bleeding





  1. Mike Avatar

    GNP is spinning that the dart did not kill the bear, but rather this ruptured jugular at exactly the same time the bear was darted…..


  2. jburnham Avatar

    The Missoulian story says the dart did hit the vein and cause the bleeding. NPS is definitely trying to finesse this story, but it’s clear that the internal bleeding wasn’t some kind of pre-exisiting condition. In other words, no dart, no death.

  3. Kropotkin_man Avatar

    Here’s the internal statement from NPS:

    Darted Grizzly Yearling Died From Internal Bleeding

    By Amy Vanderbilt
    August 25, 2009

    Editor’s Note: Glacier National Park officials wish to clarify that the death of the grizzly yearling on August 17th was indeed attributed to the tranquilizer dart injection field operation to immobilize the two grizzly yearlings at Old Man Lake in the Upper Two Medicine Valley. According to the necropsy report, the precise cause of the internal bleeding is unknown. It is not known if the yearling’s jugular vein was severed when the bear moved or perhaps when it fell, but the dart was directly involved in the bear’s unfortunate death. Click here to view the entire necropsy report. The following excerpt is reprinted verbatim from the necropsy report:

    “Although the initial wound created by the dart was close to the jugular vein, it did not appear to hit it directly. Two possibilities exist that may have resulted in the laceration of the jugular vein. First, because of its proximity to the right humerus, the dart would have been likely to move around as the bear walked. This motion may have been what allowed the sharp dart tip to lacerate the jugular vein. Another possibility to consider is that the force of the drug being expelled from the dart under pressure tore the jugular vein.”

    WEST GLACIER, MONT. – A necropsy (animal autopsy) determined that the grizzly bear yearling that died after being darted by park rangers on Monday August 17, 2009, died from internal bleeding. The results show the bear did not die from the actual darting, but from a subsequent laceration to the jugular vein. The necropsy was not able to determine exactly how the vein was ruptured. The necropsy was performed by Jennifer Ramsey, Wildlife Veterinarian with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

    Necropsy findings indicate that the bear cub died of acute hemorrhage. The finding of large amounts of clotted blood, along with evidence of the body’s response to acute blood loss (empty heart, pale grey liver, contracted spleen) support this diagnosis. Although the initial wound created by the dart was close to the jugular vein, it did not appear to hit it directly. Two possibilities exist that may have resulted in the laceration of the jugular vein. First, because of its proximity to the right humerus, the dart would have been likely to move around as the bear walked. This motion may have been what allowed the sharp dart tip to lacerate the jugular vein. Another possibility to consider is that the force of the drug being expelled from the dart under pressure tore the jugular vein.

    The yearling was darted as part of a bear management action to remove a 17-year-old female grizzly from the park after bear management rangers determined her to be conditioned to humans. After the female was removed on August 17, 2009, rangers darted and tranquilized her two yearlings. One cub died shortly after being tranquilized. Rangers attempted to resuscitate the yearling by performing mouth-to-nose CPR, but to no avail.

    The carcass is that of yearling male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) from Oldman Lake, Glacier National Park. This cub was caught in a snare on July 28. He was chemically immobilized with Telazol, and recovered uneventfully. On August 17 the sow had to be humanely dispatched because she posed a threat to human safety. This male cub and his sibling were both darted with Telazol. When field personnel approached this cub, they determined that he was not breathing sufficiently but still had detectable heart beat. The biologist quickly began resuscitation efforts, however the cub did not respond and died shortly thereafter.

    Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright says “The unintended death of this yearling grizzly is a very unfortunate outcome of a very difficult operation.” Glacier National Park’s internationally-vetted Bear Management Plan and Guidelines specifies that conditioned bears that display over familiarity must be removed from the wild population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversees and coordinates the transfer of captive grizzlies to federally-authorized zoos and captive facilities, none of which were willing to take an adult bear. Final details are still being worked out to transfer the other yearling to the Bronx Zoo in New York.

    Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan and Guidelines are dynamic management tools that receive periodic international peer review. As a protected species under the Endangered Species Act, the decision to remove the family of grizzlies was not taken lightly, but was the result of Glacier’s ongoing coordination with the USFWS, the agency charged with administering the Endangered Species Act.

    – NPS –

  4. jburnham Avatar

    Remember that a black bear was killed in Glacier this May when it was hit with a cracker shell fired by a ranger attempting to haze the bear. I don’t know if there was any wrongdoing in either case, but a serious review of the procedures for hazing and tranquilizing animals seems to be in order.

  5. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Sounds like Larry may have been correct, I am glad there is more information coming out for not only public review, but agency review on this situation..

  6. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    It’s the same old BS story as the Jaguar killing in Arizona. Dart, drug, kill and then lie about it. These park biologists ARE more skilled than the AGFD biologists in Arizona, they only kill 50% of the animals they dart.
    The Department of Interior needs to ban darting and collaring of animals in all National Parks and public lands under their control.

  7. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Larry, I seriously doubt they are lying about this, the reports have come out within about 12 hours of each other and they did say in the first report the investigation was ongoing…I am really glad I don’t live in your world…behind every rock is a government conspiracy that is nothing but a cover up, with the full intent to BS the public…

    And get over it, THEY are not going to ban darting, it is a part of wildlife management now a days, and will continue, espite your best efforts to say all they want to do is track and kill animals..

    In the meantime, Larry continues to make part of his living off the same wildlife ……keep taking pictures Larry and enjoy your fame in the Nat Geo..

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    By the way, please sight the study that shows that 50% of the animals darted are killed? As a biologist, I have never seen anything that suggests that high of mortality…

    Now, please clarify, how much money have you made off the wildlife I own a part of? I would be curious to know?

  9. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    This killing of bears and other wild animals by research biologist is a world wide problem. This link about research biologists killing Polar Bears and other research animals and the great concern about it, shows that I am not the only one who thinks this has to stop.
    Save Bears- Feel free to look at my website . You will not see an injured or stressed animal there. I use large lenses and get natural poses. If an animal looks uncomfortable, I back off. As for making money, I spend more traveling to find the animals to photograph, than I take in from the sale of my photos. The IRS considers my photography to be a hobby.

  10. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Larry, you didn’t answer my question…please sight the study that shows that 50% of the animals darted are killed, the link you provided is not Scientific Study, it is a anarchist news website, with overtones that every body is doing every thing wrong, please sight a reputable scientific study to back up your claims, if you can’t then your just another ranting individual in a sea of many..I have read so many posts by you that are contrary from what I experienced when working for the agencies, you have no flexibility in you do you?

    Does the Government do wrong? With a resounding cry, I can say yes, do they always intend to do wrong, I can say with a resound cray No!

    The problem with people like you, is you don’t look at the world wide situation, you focus on the things that matter only to you, mistakes are being made and will continue to be made, but I feel with every mistake, there is something to be learned, this is not something that can be fixed in an instant, wildlife management is an evolving thing and has always been, just as traffic management, urban sprawl and a host of other issues that come into play!

    Step back and look, I don’t know of any biologists that accept the death of a wild animal without an explanation, unless they have another agenda, if they do, then they need to be out of the business..

    This was a mistake(I am sure you make them) and they are studying the situation to see what they can do, to prevent in the future, in other words finding out what went wrong…

    You may spend more money getting to were you photograph animals, but with your posts in the past, you have overtones of carry more about the money than the animals..that is the way your posts come across!

  11. JB Avatar

    “…the dart was directly involved in the bear’s unfortunate death.” -Official NPS Press Release

    “It’s the same old BS story as the Jaguar killing in Arizona. Dart, drug, kill and then lie about it.” – Larry T.

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    They admitted publicly the dart killed the bear, they didn’t lie about it at all, when they issued the press release/story yesterday they said they would continue to investigate, and now it looks like they did and they fessed up to what happened, something went wrong, and I hope they use that information to re-evaluate how these types of situations happen!

    I just happen to know many involved in this and I would say, NONE of them would have wanted to have this happen and are feeling the remorse for it happening, lets learn, because there is nothing we can do about what happened….

  13. Mike Avatar

    GNP needs to get better marskmen, *period*. Better yet, when they have ten thousand people calling them and asking to close the campground(located in a berry patch) and the area in stead of slaughtering the grizz family, they should have listened.

    This is the second case of a bad shot killing a bear this year. Whoever they have holding the guns needs to no longer be holding the guns.

  14. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Mike, how much time do you spend in the parks, for that matter how much time do you spend in the field managing wildlife? Just curious, or are you another one of those “Armchair” biologists?

    And yes, it is the 2nd case of bad shoots, but how many have been darted and successfully moved in the same amount of time? Of course we don’t know, because the press don’t report successful darting’s and movements now do they..

    I read a headline on this before the action was taken, that pretty well spelled it out…

    “Well known Grizzlies time runs out” that is the problem, grizzlies should never be “Well Known” and humans are to blame…for them being well known…but once a grizzly becomes well know, the outcome is never going to be positive…

  15. Mike Avatar

    Save Bears- I have about 65 tent nights per year.

    It sounds like you may be apologizing for the incompetence because you are emotionally attached to some of the people. That’s human nature.

  16. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    65 mights a year? Wow, I am impressed!

    Nope no apologies here, I have made several calls and talked to many people over this, I want to know what went wrong as much as you do…

    By the way, what do you do those other 300 days a year?

  17. Jay Avatar

    That might qualify you as somewhat of an expert on camping, but not wildlife management/biology.

  18. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Oh yes,Mike the wilderness spaz, frequently cited by that wolf crossing site.

  19. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Just out of curiosity, is there a specific part of the body that people are trained to aim for when darting something? It seems strange the bear would have been hit near the jugular.

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Prowolf, it is indeed very strange, I have always been trained to dart in the hind quarters, which is why I want to know what happened, now knowing a dart travels at much less speed than a bullet, I could imagine that the cub moved, but would like to know exactly what the full conclusions are, instead of the speculation and innuendo..

  21. Mike Avatar

    Jay – I don’t have to be an expert on wildlife management to know that firing a cracker shell *into* a bear and shooting a tranq dart into the jugular of a bear cub are bad shots. Both happened under GNP watch this year.

  22. Mike Avatar

    Save Bears –

    There’s no speculation or innuendo. GNP officials incompetently fired a tranq dart into the jugular of a bear cub, killing it.

  23. Jay Avatar

    I’m sure you were there to know exactly the circumstances…

  24. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Nope, Jay, I was not there, as you were not and Mike was not, but I have been talking to many that I used to work with and trust to find out what happened..

  25. Mike Avatar

    What else do you need to know? Unless they were forced to take a bad shot, the GNP is responsible for a painful death of a grizzly cub.

  26. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Jay, I am sorry, that should have been directed at Mike! Of course that is the major problem with any type of wildlife management now a days, those 65 day people think they know what happens the other 300 days of the year…no wonder we can’t get anywhere..

    there was no purpose, reason or intent to kill this cub, in the time it takes a dart to hit the target a bear or other wildlife can move more than 100 feet, in this case, it probably was about 5-7 feet which resulted in what some will call a bad shot…

  27. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Mike, yes they are responsible for the death of two bears in accordance to their internationally reviewed and apprved management plan..

    Can it be improved…YES, all management plans can be improved..

    As far as bleeding out with a jugular wound, how do you know it is painful? I would like to know that…as when I was in the military, we lost two men due to wounds in the jugular and it was very quick and they showed no signs of distress, they simply went to sleep…and died…we assign far to many human emotions to animals…

  28. Mike Avatar

    Save Bears –

    I’ve almost bled out and died from a 240 stiches incident to my left arm(had I not been into weight training it would have been sliced clean off). I sat in my own pool of blood and watched it curl around my shoes. I can tell you that bleeding out is not painless or easy. Your entire life flashes before your eyes,and you panic even though your life energy is seeping out of you. You are helpeless and accept death because you simply cannot do anything about it. The situation is out of your hands. There is great suffering, and I can only imagine that the jugular would be far worse and even more frightening.

    I understand your desire to apologize for your friends, as that is human nature.

  29. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I have no apologies to offer Mike, I am sorry for your misfortune, after the wounds I received in the first Gulf war and the replacement hip I currently struggle with, I understand your frustration as well as your misconceptions, bleeding out through the jugular is normally a pretty quick process, it took two of my men about 3 minutes to die at most, not even long enough to understand what happened to them in the heat of battle..

    By the way, working with someone does not make them your friend, but I understand your distorted view of what actually happened in Glacier, and your 65 out of 365 shows your experience level..and in case you care, I got my biology degree when I returned after the war in ’91 and did work for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, but I imagine that it does not mean anything to you beings you have so much experience in the outdoors..

    The one thing we need to ask ourselves, do animals feel the same emotions humans do…I know I don’t have that answer, do you?

  30. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    By the way Mike, do you remember how many pints were pumped into you when you had your situation occur?

  31. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I am just curious, I know my records say, I lost 5 pints and had 12 pints pumped through me, before the bleeding was under control, so I wondered what volume you had to sustain…

  32. jburnham Avatar

    Save Bears, Jay and Jeff,
    if we’re only allowed to have opinions on the subjects listed on our degrees or business cards, maybe you’d like to tell us your areas of expertise so we can ignore anything you say that’s off topic.

    These ongoing duels over expertise, or who has more nights out, or who’s more invested are becoming very tiresome.

  33. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I really don’t give a rats patoot if you read what I have to say or not. It’s your choice. exercise it

  34. Mike Avatar

    ++The one thing we need to ask ourselves, do animals feel the same emotions humans do…I know I don’t have that answer, do you?++

    How do you know that they don’t? Emotions are linked in the limbic system, something we share with many other species.

    No one can say for sure wether animals feel emotion or not. Therefore, one must err on the side of caution in treatment of animals of higher intelligence, IMHO. Some research does offer that canines can experien negative emotions similar to people.

    Sorry to hear about those men who died, Save Bears. But I can tell you that 3 minutes while bleeding out feels like a lifetime. Until you have experienced that kind of blood loss in person that quickly, you don’t know if they suffered or not. I can tell you that it is not pain free or “easy”. It’s horrifying and feels very played out over a length of time even though it’s just minutes.

    As for the pint loss, it was quite a bit. I was 19 at the time and don’t exactly recall, but it was enough to be of note.

    Indeed, your viewpoint that the grizzly cub died an “easy” death is simply projecting in an effort to apologize for the people you know involved in the incident.

  35. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Regardless of whether the bear cub died an easy death or not (Are many animals’ deaths in the wild any easier?) the fact remains that the bear is dead. If there was also a bear killed by a cracker shell this summer, then maybe Glacier National Park officials should be investigating the procedures that their biologist are using. They should also learn from this incident about being as proactive as possible in preventing habituation. We are dealing with a loss of three bears from this ecosystem, and the loss of a sow is a setback. What was the gender on the two cubs?

  36. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I agree with your views on the darting and killing of these bears. Don’t let these phony experts intimidate you. When I took comparative anatomy the jugular vein was not in the shoulder or the rump of any animal I dissected. The first press release said it was easy to dart these two cubs. Apparently then, as you have pointed out, the biologist is an incompetent shot. The biologists claim they didn’t want to shoot the sow bear. No one was holding a gun to their heads. I wonder if they posed with her and the cubs for a photo-op. Campground in a berry patch? Why didn’t they close it? This whole affair is criminal.
    Savebears- I would love to see some of the research and reports you have done. You accuse everyone else of being inexperienced compared to you. You sound more like a badge- heavy wildlife cop than a biologist. Afraid to use your real name?

  37. Cobra Avatar

    Saves Bears,
    Just how accurate are todays dart guns? I remember years ago they were only accurate at a very short distance. Also I could see if the animal was quartering away at an almost rear end shot, a miss of just an inch or two could get the jugular. Maybe it’s not so much about the marksmen as it is waiting for the perfect shot. Which I’m sure is tough depending on conditions.

  38. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Larry, I have already explained, I am not published and most likely never will be due to a situation that I had when I worked at FWP, because I refused to publish false information. No I am not a wildlife cop, if I were, I would enforce the law with all the violations I have seen, it would not be hard to generate quite an income for the state.

    Mike, I didn’t say they didn’t feel emotion, I said, I didn’t know if they feel emotion in the same way as humans..I know what it felt like, when I was shot and almost died..

    Cobra, they are pretty accurate, but only at short ranges and the variables of wind, weather and animal movement can change things real quick.

    Again as for apologizing, I am not, they can do that their own, but prowolf is correct, they need to review and learn so this can be prevented in the future, I have never once said, I condone the action the NPS decided to take in this situation

  39. JB Avatar

    Wow, I’m having flashbacks to the bear spray debate, and the recent posts involving Dr. Barry Gilbert. People seem all to ready and willing to condemn the behavior of others without any knowledge of what happened.

    “…as you have pointed out, the biologist is an incompetent shot.”

    Have you never missed in your life, Larry? People make mistakes and yes, some animals are going to die. [I’m not apologizing for them, I’m being realistic.] That doesn’t mean the entire system is incompetent and/or corrupt. I work with biologists who dart/trap/collar/tag animals every year (with many species the work is seasonal), and to a person I can tell you they care deeply about the animals they work with. Are there incompetent people working as biologists? You bet. Same as there are in every other job.

    I don’t suppose you would try to convince me that wildlife photographers can be held blameless in the deaths of wildlife? [You wouldn’t, in any case.] Perhaps we should start campaigning to end all wildlife photography in the national parks to save those few animals that will become habituated, food conditioned, and/or killed due to their interactions with photographers? The collective good that comes from trapping/darting/tagging/studying wildlife far outweighs the costs; can you say the same about photography?

  40. Jay Avatar

    Larry is perfect JB, he’s never made a mistake or had an accident in his life.

  41. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Jay& JB-
    Have you been playing Rip Van Winkle? Every one of the 3 million visitors to Yellowstone is equipped with a digital camera these days. Many of them have puchased a large telephoto to go with it. Are you going to tell all of them that they can’t come to Yellowstone and expect to see wild un-collared animals and maybe get a photo to take home?

    I get tired of you guys and your constant justification of the damage done to wildlife by repeated and un-necessary wildlife studies. If wild animals were not being constantly killed by incompetent biologists , we wouldn’t be having this discussion and many others just like it.
    We don’t need more wonderful research observing radio-collared wolves doing” raised-leg urinations” or “lets see if radio-collared bighorns go to the top of the mountains in the summer and see if they come down in the winter”.
    I was really impressed by the official report on the captured Jaguar,Macho B, where the technician noted that he performed “A fecal extraction from the Jaguars lower bowel.”
    I wonder if the Glacier biologists performed a “fecal extraction” from each of the the three Grizzlies they killed or darted at Oldman Lake. I’ll bet they each had a human fecal event when they discovered they had killed the grizzly cub.

  42. Jay Avatar

    Blah, blah, blah. Always the same thing larry. I’m guessing you flunked out of wildlife school, is that the reason you’re so adamently against biologists? You want to paint every one as incompetent because of a handful of accidents? Well then turnabout is fair play, and all photographers harass wildlife to get photos. As for your “research” you refer to, I doubt R Mcyntyre’s Raised Leg Urination “study” was the reason Doug Smith went out and collared those wolves. Ever heard of Isle Royale, larry? Do you think there’d be the knowledge gained on wolves and wolf ecology that only comes with long-term research without radiocollars? Are you really so shortsided to think that all you have to do is conduct a year or two of research and then we know everything? Obviously you don’t have the mental capacity to see beyond your own predjudices…

  43. JB Avatar

    Larry: “I get tired of you guys and your constant justification of the damage done to wildlife by repeated and un-necessary wildlife studies.”

    What damage? I’ve posted peer reviewed studies that suggest deaths occur with large carnivores less than 2% of the time, which is a tremendous improvement from earlier collaring efforts (meaning, their getting better at it). You keep focusing on a handful of incidents that you use to create the perception that there is some problem in competence. Your efforts are disingenuous at best, and you know it.

    By the way, the feeling is mutual. I get tired of you manipulating stories in the media to make it seem like there is some wide-spread problem with the competency of wildlife biologists.

    Larry: “If wild animals were not being constantly killed by incompetent biologists , we wouldn’t be having this discussion and many others just like it.”

    “Constantly”? Seriously, Larry?! This statement does not even deserve a retort.

    Larry: “Are you going to tell all of them that they can’t come to Yellowstone and expect to see wild un-collared animals and maybe get a photo to take home?”

    Are you trying to tell me that because the problem of wildlife photography is far more pervasive we should let it go and focus on the problem of study animals dying?

  44. CAT Avatar

    Hey, let’s look at how many are constantly maimed then. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my research project back in 1980. The biology class from EOSC descended upon Malhuer Wildlife Refuge (refuge is a misnomer isn’t it?) for some “field training”. We didn’t do any darting and our research subject was smaller, although still furry, but that didn’t stop us from our nightly rounds.
    Each time our speciman was captured it was “Off with a toe”. They make a rather interesting “crunch” as the nippers cut thru the bone. It got rather interesting toward the wee hours of the morning when the subjects got caught for the 2nd and 3rd times. “Hmm, should I go for the same foot or even it out so that he’s missing the same number everywhere?”

  45. timz Avatar

    Larry I agree with your last post 100%. I think we know enough about most large animals, they have all been studied ad nauseum. Let’s leave them alone and just enjoy them while they are still around.

  46. Mike Avatar

    We seem to be going in circles here.

    FACT: GNP killed two bears this year with poor shots. One of the bears was a grizzly cub.

    The fact that those holding the guns care about the animals or “feel bad” is completely irrelevant(yet this somehow satisifies those who are friends with these individuals).

    Glacier screwed up, and screwed up big on this Two Med grizzly family. They also screwed up when they sent a cracker shell into a black bear, which then exploded *insside* the bear, killing it.

    What needs to be done is not endless emotional apologizing for field workers, but rather an investigation into why Glacier moved forward with taking out this grizz family instead of closing the area and campground(in a berry patch) for a period of years, and why Glacier employees are firing tranq darts into the jugular of a bear, and a cracker shell *into* another bear.

  47. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    They moved forward after consulting their bear management plan which is internationally recognized and vetted, if you want it changed, then get your degree and become part of the panel that reviews these management plans..but currently, it is reviewed and approved.

    Glacier has very few incidents of harm happening based on their management plans, Carrie Hunt, the guru of aversion training for bears even said this was the right way to go based on the history….

    I have already said, it needs to be investigated and reviewed. As far as your perception of apologizing, that has no bearing on this situation…

    I didn’t see this much bitching when the black bear was killed with a cracker shell at Slough Creek a few years ago..

    When it comes to wildlife management, the managers need to continually investigate, evaluate and learn from every single action that takes place..based on the management plan, and past history, they took the action that was dictated by what they have learned, now they should evaluate the situation and improve the plan in place..

    Making accusations of incompetence and such is not going to change what happened…but things can change in the future and hopefully they will and this can be prevented from happening again…

    By the way, the dart was not shot “Into” the jugular vein, you might want to review the newest information coming out….but indeed it is a fact, the bears are dead and hopefully it won’t happen again…

  48. CAT Avatar

    “I didn’t see this much bitching when the black bear was killed with a cracker shell at Slough Creek a few years ago..”

    I think this is a very interesting quote, it tells of the past and foretells the future. Without a lot of bitching in the past we wouldn’t have any grizzleys or wolves to talk about now. Seems bitching works.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of incompetence, after all most wildlife managers have to have masters degrees to find jobs paying minimum wage. The problem is that it’s easier to control animal behavior even if you have to do so leathally than it is to control human behavior. And in National Parks, most seem to have been created with the scenery in mind, not the wildlife so if it comes down to a decision of which the public should be able to see the scenery wins out most of the time. After all they came to see Iceberg Lake anything else is just icing.

  49. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    You are so wrong CAT, it is not even worth going into….people will believe what they want to…

  50. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    A few thoughts on darting and death. I have been around both for too many years. …with darting bears and other animals. I also have been around killing, and been responsible for deaths in animals, I’d say, many times over what anyone posting or reading here has done.

    I’d say the two go hand in hand, killing potential and drugs. Think Michael Jackson and his “doctor” for human parallels, I suggest. But then add another element. Lets say Michael’s doctor comes up from behind and throws game darts laced with sedative at Michael …from three feet….while Michael is studying script …..to get him to go to sleep. To go further and to get closer to what darting animals in the open entails I say lets give this doctor a dart gun so while Michael is dancing on the stage its,”Time to go to sleep, Michael. Past your bed time”. Pow, down he goes. “oops got him in the neck while he bent down while doing the moon walk. Didn’t mean to.Why is he holding his jugular?”

    First the killing. It started for me being the annointed one by the family I grew up in. I was the one to kill the sick puppies, the sick calves and the little pigs. I was the one pulling the trigger on the cattle and pigs we butchered. As soon as I was big enough I also took on the job of pulling the heads off the chickens destined for the Sunday dinner. They flapped all over the place afterwards, still on their feet but the head left at my feet. All this killing on the farm had little impact other than putting a certain member of the family in position to do what they did better physically and emotionally…. better than other members of the family. It was division of labor.

    It changed. In college my dad got me a well paying job at the local animal pharmaceutical company. It was enough for 3 months work to pay for the next years college. I found this killing was a lot more emotionally challenging than what I did on the farm. a lot more. We bled every kind of red blooded animal there was…or so it seemed. We bled them weekly, biweekly or at a one time “shot” where it was sucking blood till there was no more, not even another drop. On top of this one had to do this while the animal was alive and conscious. For the animals kept alive for another round(s) we never knew if the animal we were extracting would make it unless we could hear the “cry” telling us to stop.

    The first time I carried away gallons of blood from a chained horse I got wobbly. We bled cats every two weeks. Hundreds of them …. by holding them down on a v plank and sticking a needle in their heart. They would scream if we accidently sucked too much out. Cattle would roar a roar one would never imagine when it came down to final death.

    Two of us college kids all dressed in white would go into rooms with maybe 2 dozen cats per platformed room and one would snare them around the neck with a six foot pipe and cable… and then stuff them into the cage for transport to the blood room. The second person in the platform room would be there to guard the one snaring…from the former house cats now plummeting down intent on doing as much bodily harm to me as possible, clawing and biting on the one doing the “dirty work” to its comrade. The guy on guard had a shovel to swat them away as they stretched out mid air.

    We chained, held down and drilled holes into lots and lots of former house dogs … and goats so the vets could inject rabies into their brain. We bled and eventually killed by bleeding just about every domestic animal you can think of. Cats lasted about 6 months if bled every six months. After that too much scar tissue built up to get a needle in. then it was one final bleed through a chopped off end of tail. Dogs a lot less. We would have to feed these crazed dogs, a hundred or so per building, all chained to an anchor 10′ long. There was a central aisle 3 foot long with dogs on either side and we had 12′ hooked poles to snare their food bowls.

    The first time in these buildings the seasoned full time employee pulled a trick on me. He didn’t tell me what was in this building and he had me go first. Two steps in and I saw the foaming mouth of a big black dog coming at me 5 feet off the ground. It was yanked down two feet from me. Of course I reacted by this sight by instinctively jumping the opposite way….right at the rabid german shepard on the other side of the walk way also with froth coming through the air at me. I knew right away why the regular “animal husbandry” employees put on ear phones before entering.

    Enough. you get the picture and I want you to understand because of this job I looked at and scrutinized ever time we or others darted a bear in Yellowstone. I still use darting as an option for my buffalo when one gets wire wrapped around them or something of this nature.

    My assessment of biologists, wildlife and sedating is that there would be a lot less darting in open type situations if they had sensitivity towards those animals. I believe to too many of them the animal is the “object” of their profession, not the fellow animal whom they can not predict to be in the same position they aim or they themselves have limited ability in accuracy of that dart. It is not because they don’t feel “professional”. Most I’m sure do feel that way. It is just they don’t have the background experience or education from those that have gone through this aberrant part of life to understand the importance emotionally or ethically of what they are doing. To me they are like ten year old boys who put firecrackers in frogs mouths and then aren’t instructed by elders as too what it means…something a lot more than getting a buzz by seeing them blow up in the middle of a hop. Biologists just don’t know what it means. They can have all the empathy of life, cry after making a “fatal mistake”, but they do not know the depth of death.

    To decide whether I should dart a buffalo I first look at the situation as this animal being my own child. Only then can a person get a true idea of what the risks are. I don’t know if Larry is against invasive procedures of animals for the same reason I am, but I can say I believe too many biologists look at trapping, collaring and dart as the same reason too many want to be a back country ranger….wanting to paddle a kayaak or ride a horse….instead of wanting to be a public servant whose main purpose is to do the job put forth for him (her). In other words the tool is more important to them than the reason for the use of that tool.

    What I see happening to the cub in glacier is no different than what is possible in most of the open darting. You can not control the location of impact. What if the dart goes into the hip socket or any joint, the eye, the belly or in this case the jugular.

    One of the worst cases of needle insensitive abuse I ever saw was a NPS video taken at Steven’s Creek during the Parks brucellosis testing …when a Montana vet first stuck a long needle into the neck of a buffalo’s neck and since it didn’t hit the vein he started moving it around in there trying to locate the sweet spot. Would he have done it to his little daughter? Hardly, but to an “object” with supposedly no feelings it was easy to rip all the tissue he needed to to get his job of collecting blood done.

    Yes, I know how to kill and I still kill or incapacitate, but the bar of need has to be well thought out emotionally and professionally before I do it now. A lot of years of killing will do that to one. Again, I don’t see many biologists who come close to understanding what it means to dart something in the open. If they wouldn’t dart their own kid while they were playing with their little friends …..because they were afraid of where this dart might hit or possibly injure for life then why would they do it to a cub?

    The cubs actually were in a controlled situation after the mother was killed. The same reason I can kill buffalo calves so easy after I kill their mother…they stay around….means the capturers have the time and equipment on hand to secure the cubs without the variabilities of injury. Drop a net over them from above and then tranquilize. Shoot a net over them, and then another….I don’t know…I could think of a lot of ways it could be done a lot more reliable than what happened in Glacier. Yes, an adult griz means less options, but in this case cubs mean time and multiple options.

    I say have some think tanks discuss ways of controlling kids safely and then maybe biologists can come up with ways a lot more humane….something my college job didn’t allow…..but at the time was justified by all vets because this serum was obtained to save a lot of lives. Doesn’t this sound similar to why glacier thought necessary to save lives of humans?

    Maybe they need to replace the word bear with human and then think of ways to conduct adversive conditioning. Of course, those thinking like Dick Cheney and his torture justification hoolagens would have to be left off these think tanks.

  51. JB Avatar


    “We seem to be going in circles here.”


    FACT: GNP killed two bears this year with poor shots. One of the bears was a grizzly cub.


    The fact that those holding the guns care about the animals or “feel bad” is completely irrelevant(yet this somehow satisifies those who are friends with these individuals).

    –Agreed; at least about the relevancy part. If you capture wild animals to study them, some small percentage are going to die.

    “Glacier screwed up, and screwed up big on this Two Med grizzly family.”

    –If by “screwed up big” you mean that someone made an error that got lots of people’s panties in a bunch, then we are again in complete agreement.

    “What needs to be done is not endless emotional apologizing for field workers, but rather an investigation into why Glacier moved forward with taking out this grizz family instead of closing the area and campground(in a berry patch) for a period of years, and why Glacier employees are firing tranq darts into the jugular of a bear…”

    –Read the necropsy; in fact it does not appear that they fired the “tranq darts into the jugular of a bear”. I don’t see anyone engaged in “endless emotional apologizing for field workers.” I do, however, see the predictably emotive response to the death of a bear cub. The research protocol and incident certainly deserve review.

    FACT: Mortality directly caused by the study of large carnivores is low when compared with other sources of mortality.

    FACT: Without these studies, we would know significantly less about the behavioral ecology of these animals.

    OPINION: We should do everything in our power to reduce the stress and mortality associated with the capture, collaring, and study of wildlife.

    OPINION: The people who think this is a big deal are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  52. JB Avatar

    To follow-up:

    It is one thing to oppose the capture (i.e. trapping, darting, netting, etc.) of wildlife because you believe it is unethical to treat wildlife in this way. While I disagree, I recognize that the ethics of animal treatment are intensely personal.

    What I object to is Larry’s campaign of misinformation. If we are going to have a conversation about the capture and collaring of wildlife, then that conversation should be based on rigorous research and an honest assessment of the costs and benefits associated with these practices, not anecdotes, insinuation, and far-fetched conspiracy theories.

  53. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Bob Jackson –
    I appreciate your observations. I would enjoy meeting you.

    Jay- I am a retired high school biology teacher. I was qualified long ago by the IDFG on their competitive exams as both a big game biologist and a fisheries biologist. When I discovered that I made more in 9 months teaching than I would make in 12 as a wildlife biologist, I continued my teaching career and worked during summer vacations for various agencies. I have worked for IDFG, Montana F&G, NPS and the Nez Perce Tribe fisheries. My observations while working for and with various biologists, and seeing the way many of them treated the animals they were responsible for, made me determined to see that wild creatures were treated better. I helped put radio- collars on bighorn sheep and watched some of them die and like CAT, I cut toes off of small mammals. When I travel and photograph today I see the much of the same callous dis-reguard for wildlife by those who study them today as I did before.
    I would be happy to compare my GPA and GRE scores with you or any other so- called expert on this blog.

  54. Don Avatar

    “What needs to be done is not endless emotional apologizing for field workers, but rather an investigation into why Glacier moved forward with taking out this grizz family instead of closing the area and campground(in a berry patch) for a period of years, and why Glacier employees are firing tranq darts into the jugular of a bear…”

    The answer to this comes in one word— MONEY!
    Why didn’t they close the camp site down? MONEY

    Too many people come to the parks for their holidays. They have spent months planning, sometimes years, and when they get to where they are going and it’s closed, they are not very happy. GNP has used closing and/or restricting areas as their method of management (especially the northern section of the park because of the wildlife population) all too often in recent years and the phone lines are burning up, and email boxes are full with complaints. All it takes is once for this to happen to someone and they will never be back, and in addition tell all their friends about what happened, and so on.

    I have been in Yellowstone and listened to folks time and time again complaining about the restricted/closed areas of GNP and the illogical wildlife management policies, and have left to go see other places while they have time, and vow to never go back there. I for one have said I will not go back, and I have spent a lot of time in GNP as well as many other parks, but for the first time in a few years I am going to give it another shot and see how it goes. My own personal opinion of the wildlife management in GNP is not a very good one, compared to lets say Yellowstone’s attitudes on how to deal with animals and people interacting.

    So, to save a lot of time and rehashing what has already been said, I am in the Larry, Mike, CAT, and Bob Jackson camp on this.

  55. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Have a great time, I hope it changes your view of Glacier…

  56. Cobra Avatar

    Maybe if every time their was an incident in a park they didn’t get sued they would be more apt to let some of these animals survive. Seems like it’s damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Had they closed the area with sign about a grizzly sow with two cubs someone would of snuck in and tried to get pictures or video. If the person would of gotten attacked after sneaking in some how the park would of been at fault and probably would have had to pay thousands or more just to settle. People in these parks need to be held responsible for their own actions. Parks are not petting zoos and some people need to realize that and be held accountable for their own actions. Wild animals are wild and unpredictable.
    GPA doesn’t mean crap, some of the people I know with the highest GPA do not know anything unless it comes from a book. I’m not saying this is you, but there are quite a few educated idiots out there, you have to admit that.

  57. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    You hit the nail on the head…

    “They are damned if they do and they are damned if they don’t”

  58. Mike Avatar

    I agree that much of this situaton is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. There are people out there who can and would sue GNP over a bear attack as ridiculous as it sounds. In fact, the world is full of people like that.

    I’d like to see some sort of legislation that would protect the parks from lawsuits involving injury by wild animals. I think this would go a long way in creating some flexibility for those on the ground. And I certainly think that sort of legislation would have saved this grizzly family.

    As for trail closures, I personally have no problem with it, ever if it’s for protecting wildlife. That is their home.

  59. Bonnie Avatar

    Mike, I agree with you. I too would like to see legislation that would protect the parks and public lands from lawsuits involving wild animals. I’d even like to see the tort reform go a step further and stop trying to protect everyone from their own stupid mistakes. If you buy a cup of coffee and don’t specify that you want iced coffee, common sense should tell you it is probably going to be hot and if you spill it on yourself, you may get scalded.

    If I foolishly chose to walk through the Projects in Chicago at 10 pm, should I expect to sue the city or the police if I get mugged? Every time you enter a national park, you get information warning you that the wildlife is wild and could be dangerous to approach. IMO if you are too stupid to heed the warning, then you should suffer the consequences. If you’re injured, maybe you will learn a valuable lesson and if you’re killed, maybe the gene pool comes out the winner.

  60. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    To go back to my last reply I should have reread it before submitting. Not that important, but the dog rabies buildings had a center aisle 3′ WIDE, not long. We bled each cat every TWO WEEKS not every six months. I don’t really like rehashing these stats but only do so to make the story coherent.

    As for wildlife tort claims it doesn’t happen as much as you would think…at least not that I am aware of. Employees or contract researchers get assistance, ie. Barry Gibert who got mauled probably a lot because of the Parks culpability in this type of research they backed. But for all those buffalo gorings, I don’t know of any that paid out ..or even had “victims” trying to go to litigation after they were initially rebuffed by the Park for compensation.

    You could say I was a lay expert witness for the Park when it came to buffalo gorings and the only one I had to go for possible testimony involved a case where a old fart got his equally old 70 some year old sister in law to stand in front (real close…a matter of feet) of a bull at the Bridge Bay campground for picture time.
    I say “possible” because they had such a rinky dink case and there were so many bystanders who saw what really happened…not the way the victims portrayed…where she was innocently walking to the bath room and got blind sided.

    I never forget sitting there in Cheyenne US court, all things being so serious, when their lawyer asked the sister to “tell the court in her own words what she saw”. Here was this cracked voice feeble woman on the stand saying,” I was in the camper washing dishes and as I was looking out the window I saw someone flying by. I thought it was probably my sister because of the color of dress she was wearing. I put down my dish towel and went to the door and looked out. It was my sister. She was on the ground at the end of the trailer.” After she stated her words the other ranger and I, both in class A spit and shine NPS uniforms could hardly keep from laughing out loud. I literally had to bite my tongue. It was so one of a kind classic.

    This woman was 5′ or so in the air and less than five feet from the trailer at the point of the view through the window. she had been thrown with such power that she twirled through the air and landed maybe 15-20 feet from where the bull horned her in the lower back.

    They had asked for over 3 million dollars including $300,000 for loss of sex. This ladies husband, 70 some years old, was not along because their doctor in Texas said it would be bad to go to elevation because of his heart condition. You see this man weighed over 300 lbs….and Viagra had not been invented yet, not that it would of done any good. They of course, got nothing, but it does point out the misperception by the public that the govt. is an easy source of income.

    Today 20 some years later, there are enough cases on the books where lawyers can see that it is awfully hard to get money for their clients in wildlife cases like these. But the public sometimes still thinks it can happen for them. Those cases in the past, whether bears or bison ,have meant the govt. has adjusted its literature to be mostly lawsuit proof.

    It is only administrative or biologist desk bound supervisors who still wrongly fear for their own personal jobs that makes for over reaction to possible negative wildlife – human interaction. I see the Glacier incident, without knowing more of the specifics..and on the other hand knowing the characteristics of these fearful non confident employees in Yellowstone that makes for over reaction and killing of mostly harmless wildlife.

  61. JB Avatar


    I would argue that one of the reasons why people have been unsuccessful in suing NPS regarding wildlife attacks is that the agency can show that it takes aggressive measures to ensure the public’s safety. Were they to cavalierly let bears with cubs roam through campgrounds, you can bet that judges would be less sympathetic. Moreover, the political fall-out from say–a grizzly bear in a campground killing a couple of children–would end in someone taking the blame (i.e. the park administrators). Thus, I disagree with your assertion that administrators and biologists “wrongly fear” for their jobs. Taking aggressive action to keep wildlife away from people insulates biologists and administrators from both law suits and individual persecution….except, of course, when they make mistakes and baby animals die. 😉

  62. chris Avatar

    Larry wrote: “Are you going to tell all of them that they can’t come to Yellowstone and expect to see wild un-collared animals and maybe get a photo to take home?”

    Perhaps the core reason for his blind hatred of all collars and everyone who uses them is they mess up his photos.

  63. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    The collars don’t magically appear on these animals. They are chased by helicopters, darted and drugged, or captured in leg- hold traps and snares, and then darted and drugged, all of which can and do severly injure or kill the studied animals. The episode with the grizzly cubs shows how dangerous this is to the animals. Two cubs,Two darts fired , One dead cub.
    It is my opinion that these practices have no place in a National Park. These studies are repeated again and again.
    The wonderful wolf study in Yellowstone is a good example. Each year is a repeat of the last. The wolves are chased to exhaustion by helicopter, darted, drugged and collared. Write annual report. Collect salary. Repeat.
    The collared Yellowstone wolves are being used as a business to make money for the park. All of those white buses, that the Yellowstone Association uses to make money taking visitors on wolf watching tours? They all have radios mounted in the ceiling, monitoring Rick McIntyre, who has an antenna to track the collared wolves in the Lamar valley. When he locates the wolves, he radios the buses and they rush to see the wolves. In return, the Yellowstone Association pays some of McIntyres salary. Nice setup. They can almost guarantee their passengers that they will see a wolf. This gets passed off as research.
    Any extra money the Association makes on these tours gets turned over to the park. This keeps the money flowing to the other wolf researchers. The welfare of the wolves has nothing to do with it.
    Don’t believe me? Go check it out. I saw and heard the radios in the buses and one of the association people told me they pay part of McIntyre’s salary.

  64. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I have little problem with the collaring that goes on in Yellowstone. Tourists seeing wolves is very good politics for the wolves, and Rick McIntyne is a very dedicated person who certainly deserves his meager compensation. Every day I read about crooks from the banks and Wall Street grabbing millions or billions of undeserved loot. McIntyre seems like a poor choice to point a finger at.

    We have learned a great deal about wolves from this research. Every year Yellowstone Park publishes a list of the research studies done.

    From the states we get lots of radio collars, a pile of dead wolves, but very little research, and not many observations of wolves for the public.

    I think your critique of the Park Service in this regard is way overblown.

  65. JB Avatar

    “The wonderful wolf study in Yellowstone is a good example. Each year is a repeat of the last.”

    Actually, let’s take a look at that example, along with another long-term study that’s been conducted on Isle Royal. In the past two years I’ve attended presentations by investigators on both studies, Doug Smith and Rolf Peterson. Interestingly, the two made nearly identical off-handed comments about what we’ve learned from the studies. I’m paraphrasing, but they went something like this:

    “Most studies are conducted over 2-4 year time frames depending on project funding and the type of student involved (i.e. MS vs. PhD). If you were to look at any 2, 3, or 4 year period in the data collection you might draw a different conclusion regarding the nature of the relationships between predator and prey species. However, having data collected over several years allows us to understand how the nature of these relationship changes over time.” (Again, I’m paraphrasing)

    Both researchers felt that much of the science that was done was questionable because the time frames were too short to adequately address the study research questions.

    Larry, if you are as smart as you claim to be, it should be obvious to you why collecting longitudinal data using the same methodology is advantageous for learning about complex ecological relationships. The alternative is to conclude that we know everything there is to know. In my view, such a position is laughable.

    I’ve said it before but it bares repeating: Without scientific inquiry to provide a factual basis for management decisions, were left with a room full of stakeholders shouting at each other. Moreover, as I’ve also pointed out in the past. Population/movement data are required as part of monitoring for species protected by the ESA. But hey, Larry would have us believe that we don’t need biologists, managers, agencies, or research; we might as well scrap the ESA too! Maybe we should just appoint Larry wildlife czar and let him make all the decisions?

  66. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    JB–Are the studies in Yellowstone redundant? What data are they seeking that doesn’t already exist from dozens of studies on Isle Royal, in Alaska, Canada, etc. I think that if the NPS and other agencies had to make the case for their Yellowstone wolf studies to a high school science class–as a prerequisite to obtaining funding–most studies would be rejected as unnecessary.

    I are a famous author, and when you send in a proposal for a non-fiction book you’ve got to inform the publisher if there are competitive books. Then you’ve got to explain why your book would be better, and how it would be different. Think about all the books on Yellowstone wolves. Could you convince an editor and a publishing house that you’ve got something important to say that hasn’t been said before? Right now, there are some many books on Yellowstone wolves I doubt if Barry Lopez or Rick Bass could make the case for a new book. If wolf research proposals were scrutinized in a similar manner, I believe wolf research in Yellowstone would end quickly.

  67. Jay Avatar

    Larry–you truly are a one trick pony. I guess we should start mocking the teaching profession, since I’ve known a few incompetent teachers, so surely it’s perfectly OK to condemn the whole profession based on a few…I’m guessing you were one of them. At this point, even though I know I shouldn’t read your posts (how many ways can you say the EXACT SAME THING lary?), I can’t help myself…it’s like driving by a car wreck and having to look.

    And you are so right Dave, the researchers have learned EVERYTHING there is to know about wolves…theres no reason to continue to do long term research to be able to capture changes in weather/climate, prey, predator, habitiat, etc. Yep, fire all the biologists, everything is in the books. Using your mentality, no doubt Einstein would only have gotten as far as E=MC; Michelangelo would have said “you want me to paint WHAT chapel? that’s a pretty big job, how bout I just paint you a nice mural on your shed instead…”; Darwin wouldn’t have bothered to go to the Galapogos…well, you get the idea.

  68. JB Avatar

    “Are the studies in Yellowstone redundant?”

    Good question, Dave. The answer is yes…and no. Certainly some of the information collected in studies is collected in the same way every year. The reason this is done is it allows researchers to determine how relationships between various species change over time. For example, if elk populations in an area are lowered, how do wolves respond? Do they disperse in greater frequency; are they more susceptible to illness; at higher risk of death; is there an increase in intra-specific strife; do they switch to other prey items; if so, which ones; how does the switch affect elk; how does the reduction of elk affect vegetation; which species benefit, etc. This is a hypothetical example, but I think you get the point. Each year a host of ecological (e.g. precipitation, temperature, disease, competition, etc.) and anthropogenic factors (e.g. illegal killing, WS actions, den disturbance, etc.) have the potential to affect the nature of these relationships. Thus, one point of repeating the same method of data collection is to examine how relationships change with changing conditions. Of course, a key component of the scientific method is replicability (what you might call redundancy). Essentially, if you replicate a study (i.e. employ the same methods) under the exact same conditions, you should get the same results (within sampling and measurement error). This rarely happens in ecological studies (because things are always changing), but it is still worth mentioning.

    Also, remember there are many different projects going on in Yellowstone and Isle Royal. These change from year to year (given funding, grad student interests, etc.) but it is not at all accurate to say they are simply conducting the same research. It is perhaps important to distinguish between data collection methods (e.g. use of radio/gps collars) and study design. You can employ the same data collection methods year after year but, assuming you’ve collected enough data, answer completely different research questions using various study designs.

    Finally, I can’t claim to know where all of the funding for these projects comes from. Most often, researchers seek funding from diverse sources, usually via competitive grants. Applying to these grants is a painstaking process (to say the least) that actually requires researchers to address the exact questions you mention (i.e. is this research new/novel, how does it benefit our understanding of X, what good is it?). Grant applications are reviewed by panels of researchers who evaluate the proposed studies’ methodological rigor, contribution to the field, and contribution to society in general.

    FYI: The vast majority of the books on wolves do not contain much science. Though they often summarize researchers’ findings, they are written to appeal to mass audiences. Researchers get little (if any) credit for these types of books. In my academic unit, they would not even in count such publications in considerations about tenure.

    The long and short of it is, the system that supports peer-reviewed research is set up to favor studies that progress our collective understanding. If reviewers don’t see something novel in the research, funding usually is not forthcoming.

  69. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I think you need to read between the lines as to what the main problem with Rick being involved in this situation. He becomes guilty by association with the Association. Yes, the real, and I mean real bad problem, is the Yellowstone Association being in such close association with higher up YNP administration. The whole thing is a parasitic relationship for the Park. This bed fellow relationship was bad was bad for the public when I was working in Yellowstone and it is a lot worse now.

    You see, the public servants, naturalists in this wolf scenario Larry talks of, are being replaced and those still there are being subordinated to Yellowstone Association. It doesn’t stop there. When I was patrolling, the Yellowstone Association was seen as the answer to decreasing budgets. It looks good on paper but with little accountability and no independent review board or agency to check it gets perverted.

    If fat cats wanted to give $25,000 they were pretty much entitled to the dream trip of their Yellowstone life when i was there. Now if the Association did all the work on their own I could see it helping out the Park, but in actuality the administration endorsed a parasitic relationship with the Parks public employees and their resources. It was an entitled association that preyed on the whole system in place.

    A lot of fat cats wanted to go to the most remote areas…my stomping grounds…or if they were not up to the task the Park would take them to one of the remote cabins on Yellowstone Lake.

    To pull this off a trip to Thorofare meant bringing in Corral Operations and LOTS of riding and packing stock. These were not frugal trips mind you. Days of stock preparation had to be set up. Rangers and trail crew horses were “confiscated” to be used for these trips. Corral operations packers were taken off other planned trips (which adversely affected a lot of back country work crews). Case after case of wine and hard stuff had to be packed in. Personal items no outfitter would allow were packed on Park Sevice stock by Park Service employees. Yellowstone Association employees were brought in via Public tax paid boats to “lead” these trips. The Park employees were basically subordinate to them.

    The fat cat trips were suppose to be scheduled prior to the summer, so in theory park employees should be able to plan around them, but schedules for royalty always changes. Any patrol I had to any of the cabins had to be cancelled (a big deal and loss of lots of effeciency when my trips were based on multiple cabins and ten days of coordinated riding. If the plush doings were to be at Yellowstone Lakes Se arm Trail Creek cabin it meant that ranger had to vacate the premise for lets say 4-5 days. Then when he was allowed back it meant an additional couple days clean up for him. All this meant he or I couldn’t do what he was suppose to do. He would get behind on campsite cleanup. He couldn’t keep trails clear (which meant outfitters rode around down trees and damaged the area). Places like the SE Arm are also legally off limits to all motorized traffic except administrative needs. Of course, bringing one bag of grain per fat cat shuttle meant legally the gas guzzling boats were free to sail away.

    There is so much more but I hope you get the drift of this, Ralph. Every fat cat trip was, and is, a totally demoralizing chain of events for field personnel. What one ended up with were the chosen few who administration liked to be as part of the cavorting and take them along as Park representatives. Then there were no bodies to account for events on site.

    Administration higher ups would be shuttled in to spend the evening with the priviledged donors. My chief ranger in one case, I remember, was boated in through the no power Zone one evening and then was picked up by the same 25′ power boat the next morning.

    It all has an ozzing aura of prostitution of our public resources. and from talking to naturalists this year, I call very credible, it has all gotten worse since I left.

    What was before limited to Fat cat trips by the Association are now being supplimented with regular vacationers, who instead of free naturalist hikes or programs, are being directed to Yel. Association buses and follow up programs at the same places public service naturalists used to give talks. The naturalist talks themselves are being shortened by half and less nights for the public to make way for these non profit YA endeavors.

    Yes, money does come back to the Park, but from the wish lists I saw filled, were a lot of frivally and ususally never got to the place it was parasited from in the first place.

    What I parallel the Yellowstone Public Park with “private” Assoc. …. is on the same tone of purpose as with Cheney circumventing the established and appropriate govt. security agencies to play rogue dictator with our freedoms.

    What is happening in Yellowstone will take a lot of years to correct, even if it were stopped today.

    Rick is a naive pawn in what he is doing. What this means is it would be no different than I contracting out to catch poachers in Yellowstone. To do so would erode all sustainable and ongoing ranger activities…the ones who should be doing so as a public servant. If the Park sees Rick as valuable then the GOVT. should hire him, not have the YA use him as part of parasitic demoralizing view as seen through Park employee eyes.

    The Naturalist division has a huge new center but what is happening in the trenches makes that structure seem very hollow.

    What I also saw with the whole Assoc – Park administration effort as seen through ranger eyes was also very bad. Our Park is being corrupted by this “money making” endeavor and the employees endorsing and partaking in this effort are being corrupted as public servants.

    In the end the wolves will lose out because the priorities of those promoting this collusion are becoming shallow in character. It is becoming an environment of selfishness in a land that is suppose to be “Public Service”.

  70. JB Avatar


    Please do not take offense, but you may be the most pessimistic person I have ever interacted with. Is there anyone currently associated with YNP that does not draw your ire? Conspiracy theories make for convenient explanations, but rarely are they anywhere close to the truth.

  71. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Here’s some stuff the Yellowstone Wolf Project published in 2007. Re-introduction of the gray wolf into Yellowstone strikes me as old news. Wolf and human conflicts? Who’d a thunk it? The Yellowstone Wolf Project has 5 full time employees and this is what we get? I don’t see this having any meaningful influence on how we manage people in wolf country. In Yellowstone, or anywhere else.

    Appendix II. Publications in 2007
    Bangs, E.E., and D.W. Smith. In press. Re-introduction
    of the gray wolf into Yellowstone National Park
    and central Idaho. IUCN Reintroduction Specialist
    Forester, J.D., A.R. Ives, M.G. Turner, D.P. Anderson, D.
    Fortin, H.L. Beyer, D.W. Smith, and M.S. Boyce.
    2007. State-space models link elk movement patterns
    to landscape characteristics in Yellowstone National
    Park. Ecological Monographs 77:285–299.
    Hebblewhite, M., and D.W. Smith. In press. Wolf community
    ecology: Ecosystem effects of recovering
    wolves in Banff and Yellowstone National Parks.
    In The world of wolves: new perspectives on ecology,
    behavior and policy, eds. M. Musiani, L. Boitani, and
    P. Paquet. University of Calgary Press.
    Kauffman, M.J., N. Varley, D.W. Smith, D.R. Stahler,
    D.R. MacNulty, and M.S. Boyce. 2007. Landscape
    heterogeneity shapes predation in a newly restored
    predator-prey system. Ecology Letters 10:1–11.
    MacNulty, D.R., L.D. Mech, and D.W. Smith. 2007.
    A proposed ethogram of large-carnivore predatory
    behavior, exemplified by the wolf. Journal of Mammalogy
    Smith, D.W. 2007. Wolf and human conflicts: A long,
    bad history. In Encyclopedia of human-animal relationships,
    ed. M. Bekoff, 402–409. Greenwood Press.
    Smith, D.W., and E.E. Bangs. In press. Reintroduction of
    wolves to Yellowstone National Park: History, values
    and ecosystem restoration. In Reintroduction of Toporder
    Predators, eds. M. Hayward and M. Somers.
    Blackwell Scientific.

  72. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    A lot more folks than just me can substantiate what went into those Yellowstone assoc. trips. I gave you the facts as I saw happen. I relay what long time associates say is happening and what effect it is happening on Yellowstone. there’s coincides with what I saw and the usual effects of non govt. association with govt. when it comes to money. thus i believe them. There is no pessimism in facts. If you want an utopian view of hallowed Yellowstone be my guest. Keep your childhood life alive skipping through the flowers if you want, but I ask you to do be aware of where your tax’s are going and how your resource interest is being handled by a public institution. I do not just repeat this only here. It is in Associated Press reporters files waiting to blow this out some day. It is documented in a lot of PEERS files. They hand this over to congressional oversight commitees when asked. I do my part. Too bad you don’t want to do yours.

  73. CAT Avatar

    “The long and short of it is, the system that supports peer-reviewed research is set up to favor studies that progress our collective understanding. If reviewers don’t see something novel in the research, funding usually is not forthcoming.”

    Scratches head. This sounds so familiar. Oh that’s right, it’s like the Fortune 500 CEO who hires his friends to be on the company’s board so that they can review and vote on his bonuses.

    So when the peer review reviewer votes a research project up or down what’s the likelihood of their own project getting the same treatment in return?

    And a source of funding for researchers, this one’s linked to YNP wolverine studies: The Bronx Zoo.

  74. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I also was a law enforcement public servant for 30 years in Yellowstone. This meant I had to place together motives, chain of events and scenarios as they are happening…. to be effective in enforcing the resource laws. I must have been ok at it as I caught more poachers than all the rangers combined during my time …plus add in all the rangers for the 40 years before me. Does my observation, deductive logic and ability to predict the next outcome stop at the poacher gate or can it go on to cover things of similar spin?

    What is happening in Yellowstone with its Yellowstone Association relationship has and is degrading all around you. You tell me it is going to all stay on the up and up without checks and balances?

    Actually if I was pessimistic I wouldn’t have been able to be productive for 30 years in Yellowstone. Too many others became bitter or apathetic. That attitude comes from knowledge without hope. I always retained this hope. Thus it was a blast, my friend.

  75. Jay Avatar

    Dave, go read a comic book than, might be more your speed.

  76. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I can’t see anything wrong with this research, at least by title. Scientific studies need replication. That’s the scientific method.

    I doubt the wolf project has 5 full time employees. For example, Dan Stahler is working on on doctor’s degree much of each year in Los Angeles. Doug Smith is now in charge of not just the wolf program but the Park’s bird programs too.

    Doug Smith told me a couple years ago that the wolf program, because of its popularity, had led not to largess from the Park, but to a mandate that he had to raise all of the money to support the program.

    A lot of this carping sounds more and more like sour grapes, the kind of sore points that led to books like what’s his name’s, “Playing God in Yellowstone.”

  77. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Five full-time employees worked for the Yellowstone Wolf Project in 2007: Project Leader Douglas Smith, and
    Biological Science Technicians Debra Guernsey, Erin Albers, Rick McIntyre, and Matthew Metz. Dan Stahler split time
    between graduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles, and working in the park as a project biologist. The
    Wolf Project was able to hire paid seasonal staff through the Yellowstone Park Foundation and Yellowstone Association to assist in several key aspects of our annual work. Paid seasonal staff included Nicole Legere, Abby Nelson, and Libby Williamson. Additional volunteers staffed the early (November–December) and late (March) winter study periods (see Acknowledgments and Appendix I).

    Jay–go read the bear spray studies by Herrero & Higgins (1998) and Tom Smith, Herrero, DeBruyn, Wilder (2008).

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Dave Smith,

      I was writing about 2009.

  78. CAT Avatar

    “I can’t see anything wrong with this research, at least by title. Scientific studies need replication. That’s the scientific method.”

    Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

    You are supporting research for research sake. But the research must go on or the 35 people who work for YERC will be out of a job putting telemetry collars on every coyote in the park. There are other ways of research that lead to valuable conclusions that don’t even require “gasp” technology. It goes back to “When I struck a match I observed………” Nowadays scientific discovery isn’t real unless it’s memorex.

    Just because we can find out what a wolf eats every day by capturing it and taking a fecal sample doesn’t mean we should. Just because it’s “only a collar” doesn’t mean we should put it on. Just because a bear likes a certain berry patch doesn’t mean we should remove the berry patch.

    There are consequences to everything we do as Alston Chase’s book, much maligned above, strives to point out from 20 years ago. I think it’s fair to say that more and more of us feel that the consequences of treating wildlife as commodities are outweighing the benefits.

  79. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    There is a time for research and there is a time to leave the animals be. I stood up in the ten years of wolves meeting in Yellowstone a few years ago and asked Doug Smith when he was going to let the wolves be wolves and get the collars off of them. Most of the audience applauded me for my question. There is a great feeling in the non-research population that enough is enough. Our National Parks were not designed to be industrial research factories that churn out thesis papers for advanced degrees. Most of the wolf behavior that the researchers claim is so important to record, is known by anyone who has owned dogs.
    One of the common jokes you hear from park visitors in the Lamar Valley goes something like this: “Look, Look, there goes a ground squirrel without a radio-collar. Call one of the rangers so they can take care of this.”
    I can tell by the responses I get from JB and Jay that I am striking a defensive nerve when ever I say “get the collars off”. They know it is overdone, they just have an iron in the fire they have to defend.
    Using radio-collared wolves for commercial gain by the Yellowstone Association borders on being criminal.

  80. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Much research is done without radio collars. And more and more non-intrusive or less-intrusive research is being done. Biologists are aware that devices that burden an animal also change the behavior they are trying to study.

    I think you need to worry much more about the radio collars Wildlife Services uses, both in how they are put on the animal and their purpose. All bureaucracies have their defects, but as far wolves go, I’d certainly say the Park Service folks are, relatively speaking, the good guys. The abuses are much more likely to come from the heavy management agencies than from those interested in maintaining ecological processes.

    My organization, Wolf Recovery Foundation, is funding wolf research. We fund research that does not use radio collars.

  81. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Since we are getting into “I told you’s” I can say several years ago by the now head of biologists that they had two biologists in their division they were having a hard time controlling. Terry and Doug. With terry, the bird man who had many years of on going bird surveys and a lot of field work, they ordered him into only office work. They also banned him from writing any more unsloicited papers. For Doug they took his budget away and said if you want wolf studies you get the money yourself. All know this is conterproductive for researchers to have to do so. They also micro managed as far as wearing “proper uniforms etc.

    The reason for administrative folks to do as they did was to control. They were very jealous of the wolf program. It was not primary that budget was down to make selected folks raise money on their own.. They applied this Bush era edict. If anything they should have highlighted the wolf project.
    The brass also took steps to limit speeches and travel …except for themselves. For them it was trips to Africa and Russia.

    Terry retired and never could be controlled. Doug is hanging in there. Why should a wolf biologist have bird studies? How connected is this. to do it right one needs to do this as Terry did. The intent from above was to marginalize….and control…control something to them they got mixed up with creativity, vitality and charisma. Such is thew world of Yellowstone. Terry was a great biologist and so is doug. The powers can not stand it. I hope they can never control those who should never be controlled. Thus, I end with “I told you so”.

  82. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    I thought what’s his name’s book Playing God in Yellowstone was insightful, although it had some flaws. I was so concerned about some of the information on bears I called what’s his name, we talked a bit, and then he invited me to his home where we had a long, pleasant chat about grizzlies, Yellowstone, the NPS and wildlife management. What’s his name was influenced by a couple of disgruntled cranks who studied grizzlies in Yellowstone for a few years. What were their names? Moosehead? Deadhead? I can’t remember. Another influence on what’s his name was some guy named pinhead. Or was it Pengelly. He was the 1st national president of some no-name outfit that published comic books on wildlife. The Wildlife Society or something like that. Les Pengelly, Frank and John Craighead, and Alston Chase–why pay any attention to their carping?

  83. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Alston Chase’s book was just a right wing rant. Those people who hate the wolf reintroduction and conservationists in general have used it as their bible for years.

    I’m taking off for the hills for a while. I’ll be glad to discuss it later today.

  84. Jay Avatar

    No Larry, you just sound like an idiot when you say everything has been learned, nothing more to find out, and then call an entire profession incompetent because of a few isolated incidents. Ralph is right, you can learn lots without radiocollars, but there is much to learn that necessitates using collars, and conditions are always changing too. And now you say that we don’t even need to study wolves, just use our domestic dogs as surrogates! That’s hilarious!! Larry, you are so out of touch with reality its amazing. Let me ask you this, has medical sciences, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc., all decided that they’ve learned all they need to know and shelved the research? I don’t have an iron in the fire, I’m just baffled at how someone could be so ignorant (although I’m certain the real reason that you’re so adamently opposed to collars is because of your “iron in the fire”–e.g., you’re pictures of collared animals aren’t worth as much).

  85. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I am going to agree with you for once. Some photographers abuse animals to get that special photo.
    The worst one that I know of , was done by a photographer/researcher named Mech. When the wolves he was photographing in the Arctic couldn’t break the defensive circle of the Musk Oxen protecting their young, he rushed the Oxen with his ATV and scattered them so he could get photos of the wolves killing baby musk oxen. He got them.
    You probably know him. The Yellowstone Association hires him to teach classes on wolf behavior and sells his books in the Yellowstone Visitor Centers.

  86. chris Avatar

    Any documentation to back up your claim about Mech? You don’t usually provide any so your credibility is sometimes suspect.

    Even so, if that’s the worst you know of a photographer doing then you haven’t been paying much attention.

  87. JB Avatar

    Larry, Dave:

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to continue to debate this topic with you. It is clear where you both stand, and very clear that it is nowhere near me. I would encourage those who “lurk” on this blog to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, rather than accept any person’s posts a(including mine) as pure fact. I don’t say that because I doubt the accuracy of what I right, but because I understand that two people can look at the same data and come to different conclusions. The point is to LOOK AT THE DATA and not take anyone’s “word”.

  88. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jay–any details/documentation of what we’ve learned about grizzlies during the past 10 years by radio-collaring grizzlies in the Yellowstone region. From reading comic books, I’ve learned that radio-collaring bears helps us count them so they can be delisted and killed more readily. Can you give me anything significant beyond that?

    I once read a comic book about some guy named Hemingway who said someone was “up on a high dive when he should have been at the shallow end of the pool practicing the dead man’s float.” That’s your situation right now Jay.

  89. JW Avatar

    Dave Mech is probably the single biggest reason why we have wolves in the west today. His research and advocacy for the creatures is unarguable.
    He really is the Michael Jordan of the wolf world and I don’t buy your claim for a second. His reputation as the dean of all wolf researchers probably gives him a tad of credibility – which is an understatement…
    Oh yeah, and because virtually all behavior info/data that we know today is due to radio-collars, we can also thank him for collaring 500 or more of the creatures b.c the only reason why these lawsuits will go through is b.c of data from people like Mech.

  90. JB Avatar

    BJ: “I do my part. Too bad you don’t want to do yours.”

    Bob, I’m not sure what you are talking about; in fact, I’m not sure you know what you are talking about? What, specifically, is it that YOU BELIEVE I am failing to do?

    I made my comment (above) because in many posts I can’t remember you speaking a positive word about any person or institution. You deny it, and then turn around and lay into Doug and Terry. Tell me, are your opinions about Doug and Terry based upon the same experience as your opinions about Dr. Barry Gilbert? You seem to have a willingness to attack the character of all sorts of people, whether you have your facts straight or not. The same goes for anyone who has the gall to disagree with you about bison (an incident with Ken Cole comes to mind).

    Have you ever considered the possibility that you might be wrong? Have you considered the possibility that many people who work for state and federal agencies may disagree with you about what is the “right” (and I use that word in the moral sense) course of action? Have you considered the possibility that disagreement with Bob Jackson does not make someone corrupt, apathetic, money-grubbing, or evil? If you haven’t, you may want to take a few moments to reflect. I’ve known too many good people with agencies to remain silent while you continuously bash…well, pretty much everyone that isn’t you.

  91. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    JB–In your opinion, what are the 3 most important radio collar grizzly bear studies in Yellowstone, and what did we learn about bears from each of them.

    Grizzly bears for dummies

    1) Don’t feed the bears. Don’t feed them garbage, sheep, cattle, or anything else.

    2) Do your best to avoid encroaching on a bear’s personal space. This includes sudden encounters, and unethical photographers who get out their trusty can of bear spray and s-l-o-w-l-y approach bears until the bear is forced to charge or leave the area.

    3) You can’t have more grizzlies than you have grizzly habitat.

    4) The Endangered Species Act protected bear habitat–that’s why Yellowstone’s grizzly population increased from 1975-2007. The grizzly population would have continued to increase, but grizzlies were delisted. When grizzlies were delisted, we reduced the amount of currently occupied habitat by about one-third. Thus, the grizzly population (600) can be expected to drop by 1/3 (to 400) in the long run. The decision to reduce the amount of habitat available to grizzlies was not based on the biological carrying capacity of the land, it was based on the sociological carrying capacity of the land as determined by US Fish & Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen. Talk about playing god in Yellowstone.

    JB, what’s the point of radio collaring more grizzlies and doing more research? It won’t change nothin.

    anage grizzlies” in the Yellowstone region. No need for any more radio collar research.

  92. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    Your eyes must have been so full of rage you didn’t read much of my last reponse. Pleas do, unless you don’t want to admit to being wrong. In it I say both Terry and Doug are great biologists. I consider both in a similar state of stick to itness as I do myself. When I say the division head says they are two they are having a hard time to CONTROL it is the highest compliment to those two individuals. Terry is known for telling the sloths above to “go **** them*****. I admire him. Same for Doug.

    As for Barry you might want to read my responses again. I said I ask how much folks want to know when we are all part of an environmental family. I did not get the facts wrong. It was just whether it all should be stated. And it probably shouldn’t have. If the intent of a person is good then that is what is most impotant. And with Barry it was as far as I know.

    As for bison I have my “facts straight”. Those who want to “own” bison turf whether it is Buffalo runner or Kentucky Fried, from what I read between the lines fel threatened if someone butts in to this “domain”. From my knowledge of family groups (which is beginning to be recognized world over I understand) I feel the BFC and native Americans are really amiss for not acknowledging this important reason for saving outward bound YNP bison. I also feel to promote Superior genes by that group is not respectful of any bison and thus my comparasion to those that promote this is actually akin to Nazis Aryan stance.

    I will continue to promote all of this and I guess you, Jim Bob, will just have to endure with this reading. Or you can continue to just read the parts you want and then look like a Fool.

  93. Jay Avatar

    Dave, your ignorance astounds me. Your simplistic viewpoint of wildlife science isn’t worth my time to bother debating with you, other than to suggest maybe looking at some published bear literature that deals with bear survival rates, food habits, habitiat use, distribution/home range, etc. There’s more to bear biology than, as you put it, don’t feed them, avoid them, and we will have as many bears as there is bear habitat.

  94. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Bob Jackson-
    I grew up on a farm. Like you, I was the family’s designated killer. I am sure we both knew more about the life, death, and the reproductive behavior of most animals by the time we were ten, than lots of these experts, that like to call us names, will ever know.
    I had an interesting conversation with Terry this spring out by Slough Creek. He told me that he did NOT put radio telemetry on any birds in Yellowstone. He said he knew where they were if he needed to find them. I enjoyed listening to him. When I got home I discovered that I owned one of his Birding Montana Books. I wish more of the biologists in Yellowstone had his knowledge and attitude.
    For those of you who doubt what I said about Mech and the Musk Ox. Look it up. I think it was on a NGS program. He didn’t try to hide it. I have one of his books on wolves as well. I have been reading his reports and books for many years.
    When Jay calls me ignorant and stupid, I take it as a compliment. He obviously doesn’t know any better.


  95. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    On Aug 27, 2009, CounterPunch published these remarks from Andrea and Doug Peacock from an op-ed titled “how many biologists does it take to count a dead bear”

    These days there are far more grizzly advocates than grizzly bears, but when John and Frank Craighead first took to the rolling hills of Yellowstone in 1959, they were the vanguard. “At that time nobody knew much about grizzly bears,” says Lance Craighead, Frank’s son and a respected biologist in his own right. “There was a whole western mythology around bears, but there were basically no scientific studies of what bears do and what they need.”

    40 years later, we know what bears do. We know what they need. Let’s get on with it instead of pretending we need more studies and research.

  96. Jay Avatar

    Larry, your lack of character is showing again. I would surmise most people on this blog recognize that you toss out baseless accusations and criticism with no supporting evidence. Even that biologist that went over to washington to collar those wolves felt the need to call Ralph to dispel all the B.S. you were accusing him, and others, of. You’ve got no leg to stand on when it comes to “not knowing any better”. Even if no one else agrees (which I’m sure many do, and have voiced so), it’s a coward that calls in to question someone’s ability, competency, and ethics, with nothing other than his own personal biases and predjudices based on something “I once saw”…it speaks volumes of your character. You have yourself a good day.

  97. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jay–any specific suggestions on what ignorant ol’ me should read?

    If I’m ignorant, so are Lance Craighead, Tom S. Smith, Larry Aumiller, Derek Stonorov, Lynn Rogers, Chuck Neal, Steve French and other bear folks. A lot of Ph.Ds after those names, not to mention a bit of real life experience with bears, but we’re all ignorant and only Jay can help us. Have at it, pal. I’m eagerly awaiting enlightenment.

    Somehow Mr. all knowing Jay you missed the fact that I linked the number of bears to the amount of bear habitat. A 1st grader would get it, but Jay doesn’t. For the sake of simplicity, which is obviously required for you and people of your ilk, think of grizzlies as goldfish in a bowl. If a 100 gallon bowl supports 10 goldfish, how many goldfish would a 10 gallon bowl support? If scientist and mathamatician Jay guesses one (1) give Jay a gold star from Ms. Wombat’s 3rd grade science class.

    Jay,one more time–you’re up on the high dive when you should be at the shallow end of the pool practicing the dead man’s float. Give it up. Get smart. Walk away. Stop pretending. For cry’in out loud you poor fool.

  98. Jay Avatar

    Dave, you crack me up–under your credo, there would be no high dive, because you lack the ambition and curiosity to realize that man could ever go off a high dive…you’d still be laying in the shallow end saying “well that’s good enough, nothing new to learn here”.

    Hey smart guy Dave, how many of those guys that you spent a few hours looking up their names on the internet espouse the fact that we know everything there is to know about bears? And using your neat little example of bears and fishbowls, are you saying that all habitat is equal? Really? That’s a pretty neat little example you’ve got there. Are you done making yourself look silly?

  99. Jay Avatar

    Sorry Ralph, I’ll stop now…didn’t intend to clutter up your blog. Just goes to show the old saying is true about never arguing with a pig…

  100. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    You could substitute any number of wild animals in place of the grizzlies in your example. We already know what they do and what they need and more research is obviously NOT required.
    I enjoyed your comments.

  101. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Grizzly bear-human conflicts in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, 1992-2000

    “There were 74 human-caused grizzly bear mortalities during the study, primarily from killing bears in defense of life and property (43%) and management removal of bears involved in bear-human conflicts (28%). Other sources of human-caused mortality included illegal kills, electrocution by downed power-lines, mistaken identification by American black bear (Ursus americanus) hunters, and vehicle strikes. This analysis will help provide wildlife managers the information necessary to develop strategies designed to prevent conflicts from occurring rather than reacting to conflicts after they occur.”

    Jay–I’ll translate some of this for you. Bears killed in defense of life or property means 1) a hunter encroached on a bear’s personal space, the bear charged, the hunter shot it, and 2) the bear got shot because it was getting food rewards on someone’s property. “Management removal of bears involved in bear-human conflicts” means the state of feds were forced to kill a bear that killed cattle, got into garbage or some other food.”

    So 71% of the human caused bear mortality in this study was attributable to people feeding bears, and people encroaching a grizzlies personal space. Hate to be a told you so, but I told you so Jay.

    Of course after 40-some grizzlies were killed in the Yellowstone region in 2008, what did we get? Another study on bear mortality!!! but no realistic action on doing something about it.

  102. Sabrina Avatar

    “Our (wild) life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.” -hdt-

    The above reading material was a wonderful addition to my afternoon coffee.
    It did remind me though of a meeting I once attended on bear/human garbage problems. Both sides went ’round and ’round and nothing was ever accomplished. People left this meeting bitter, hurt and this is just my guess, unheard. Poor bears.
    I thoroughly enjoy it and learned (regardless of the “gossipy” undertones) a great deal I just honestly wish that something substantial would be stumbled upon.
    Thanks, it was a great debate.

  103. Sabrina Avatar

    BTW Dave,
    I hope you look nothing like a a snapping, snarling, “I’ve been harassed too much by biologist” bear. I proudly carry two cans of bear spray while hiking, oh and did I mention, BOTH cans are Counter Assault! I LOVE Counter Assault bear spray.
    Okay I’m ready for it. The door is open.

  104. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    When I go on multi-day hikes, I carry bear spray–in the bottom of my pack. Statistics from Yellowstone and Denali suggest that people who hike with bear spray are more likely to have trouble with bears. I do keep bear spray handy when I go to sleep in bear country.

    Why Counter Assault? Two research papers on bear spray have not shown that there’s any difference in field performance between the various brands. Any brand of EPA registered spray will do.

    A few years ago the Western Black Bear Conference invited a bunch of bear hunters–they hunted with dogs–and the hunters and the biologists and bear experts had a cordial back and forth discussion about hunting bears with dogs. Pretty difficult to have a meaningful conversation online when you’ve got phonies who claim to be biologists and sneering know-it-alls who excel at name-calling but won’t debate an issue or make a statement about anything because if they did, their ignorance would show.

  105. Sabrina Avatar

    You should just carry packets of black pepper-they are lighter and pack better.

  106. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jim Cole proved that Counter Assault ain’t brains in a can; Tim Treadwell tried packets of black pepper but I heard that didn’t work out real well.


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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