Kamiah hunter shoots wolf; may have been first of the season
By Ken Cole On September 1, 2009 · 161 Comments · In Idaho Wolves, Wolves
Photos show what may be first wolf shot in Idaho’s wolf hunt
I am guessing this is not the only wolf shot today.
Kamiah hunter shoots wolf; may have been first of the season
Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.
161 Responses to Kamiah hunter shoots wolf; may have been first of the season
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What I am waiting to see this autumn/spring (ID wasn’t sure if the hunt would go into March or not) is how many wolf individuals are killed in the hunt and how many are killed due to depredation.
Wow so this is what the IDFG meant by ‘valued game species’. Just a question where is the respect?
The teevee (Channel 7 in Boise) just reported that there have been 2 wolves killed today.
It was really an adrenaline rush to have those wolves all around me, howling and milling about after I fired the shot.” What a disgusting comment. Its an adrenaline rush to see an intelligent species in mental pain. Wow that is some hunting.
The man used a coyote call to lure the wolf. The regs say that NO predator calls are allowed. He shot a yearling female with a .243 – the same gun I use for deer hunting. I suppose Robert feels like he’s finally a real man.
I pray for an injunction.
Just like last time What a surprise.
This is just the start. Anyone with a predator call, some tracking experience, baiting experience (like bear baiting), access to Wildlife Service and IDFG insiders with latest telemetry locations of packs … heck … killing a wolf ain’t gonna be any problem at all. IDFG is probably already figuring out how to extend the season past Dec. 31st in the rest of the state outside the Sawtooth and Lola zones.
I reccommend you read YOUR own state’s regulations, because they do not say that at all.
They state that ELECTRONIC call are not allowed. The call this hunter used was a HAND call.
Earthjustice already has papers in the 9th circuit…I’m sure.
Wyo Native is right.
Im a little lost with morality of this particular section of the Idaho rules : just how is a hand call not bait???? Great- no electronic call, but you can sure use a hand call on wolves that have been protected? This is insanity. Not good stewardship or hunter/conservationist whatsoever.
(Bait: Baiting or hunting over bait for wolves is not
allowed. It is unlawful to hunt wolves within 200 yards
of the perimeter of any designated dump or sanitary
This comment stuck out in the article:
“The whole area is lousy with them,” Millage said.
Some posters here have thought that hunters will have a hard time finding wolves.
The comments on the first few pages of the Statesman article were not as rabidly anti-wolf as I would have thought. Luckily these two hunters were not displaying the wolves on the hoods of their trucks.
I have to agree with Linda, what does it mean when an area is lousy with wolves?
One can only hope for that.
Just don’t see the amount of hatred for wolves being anything but extremely damaging. It doesn’t seem like a hunt but revenge….welcome to Alaska.
At this point it is revenge. I’m wondering if eventually people will see them as a valued game animal and treat them more like bears and mountain lions. Of course, it could be like Alaska. 🙁
“The whole area is lousy with them,” Millage said.
In short they are calling wolves a parasite.
Wow Lynne – First wolf killed with illegal hunting methods if that is correct Who’da-ever-thunk it? Get the FG Hall Monitor on it. Calling Mr. Gamblin ….
The “lousy with them” – flows from the eliminatioinist mindset, which is that of the white supremacist and gun nut types of the NW.
THIS is the mindset of Otter, the current IDFG Commissioners, the rabid SFW types:
Neiwert grew up in ID …
There is no rule against using hand calls, only against electronic calls. See my post above.
My idea of heaven is the Idaho radicals understanding wolves and actually defending them, maybe I will start meditating on that! I really need the bumper sticker : I’ve known better dogs (wolves) than people…
Lynne hand held calls take a lot of experience to make them sound correct and bring animals in once they have been lured and shot at! I’ve called Elk for over 20 years and haven’t got a Bull to Bugle , to a bugle (challange call) or a cow call (mating call) for over 5 years in Stanley! They are wise and are quite now because of the Wolves and hunters calling them. The Wolves too will learn to be wary of calls! Electronic calls are recorded distress calls which bring predators in, they are only legal for Coyotes! You cannot use them for Ducks, Elk, Deer ect. ect!
Are we losing sight of the real issue here?
Baiting anything but Bear is Illegal too! I think baiting Bear should be made illegal too! It’s a contradiction, feeding and causing problem bears is illegal, but feeding them and conditioning them to human food for hunting is ok!
Calling is a lazy person’s (politically correct) way of hunting, doggers here actually use their own voices to lure in canines before shooting them nigh on point blank.
Calls are bait as far as I am concerned. Wolves are supposed to learn? What if you are the young pup that just lost his/her parents to this new novel hunt? And remember there are a lot less wolves than elk..Idaho ain’t doing too bad on Elk.
I am willing to bet anybody on this site…that the 220 cap (Idaho) will not be met….(or the 35 “tribal tags”)….I am serious about this wager…And i am a hunter who spends every weekend and 2 months vacation time afield…In 10 years maybe could have shot 1 wolf if i would have been carrying a rifle instead of a bow…They aren’t gonna be easy….I hope both sides will feel better about this next winter when the numbers are tallied….
Based on the reports and emails I have received today, there has been nothing illegal in the taking of this wolf, and believe me, it is being monitored VERY closely…using a hand call is not illegal according to the published rules, it sounds as if this was in fact a legally hunted and dispatched wolf…
You can use mechanical calls (as in no electronics) for turkey, elk, coyote, lion, etc.–wolves are no different.
Bait and call are two entirely separate things, bait involves scent, calls involve noise, often times a bait is irresistible and a call, unless done correctly, is most of the time, easy to resist…
I guess based on your interpretation, I should not hunt, because I can call deer with out anything but my mouth and my wife can mew right along with any cow elk in the world with her mouth, so I guess, we should be banned from the woods as “Bait”!
Wyo Native – excuse me for not remembering in the little Idaho state wolf regs that it said electronic calls. As an OREGON NATIVE, one would expect me to have been more alert as to the hunt details. There are few rules. Almost anything goes. As for taking skill to use a coyote call, I’ve seen people who have never howled before, get a pack to respond, or a coyote, or a dog, or a herd of cows. While wolves will smarten up fast as to being fooled, a lot of them are going to get killed — like the wolf today – which was a daughter, a sister, an aunt to other wolves who are missing her very much tonight. Give me a pack of wolves anytime over 99% of the human race.
gline, Don’t know if you have ever been Duck Hunting, but Ducks become call/Decoy shy after a few weeks of hunting and they are just birds! I’d think Wolves are a little more intelligent than ducks!
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, there was nothing illegal done today…as far as animals howling to a noise that does not inferred they were called in by that noise, I can talk loudly at night and get a response from coyotes where I am currently staying, the key is, do they come into that loud talking…in my experience none have ever come in, but they do vocalize…
Lynne Stone wrote:
“While wolves will smarten up fast as to being fooled, a lot of them are going to get killed — like the wolf today – which was a daughter, a sister, an aunt to other wolves who are missing her very much tonight. Give me a pack of wolves anytime over 99% of the human race.”
You are right. That is a way most people don’t look at it.
The question that as yet is unanswered is did the event really instill in them a fear of people and any savvy about what just sounds like a coyote?
As this hunt goes on, I hope we get answers to this question because we’ve had a lot of “experts” pontificate on this. Now we will see.
We don’t have a rate of kill per day yet. Will it get harder to find wolves as the hunt goes on, or will it show no real trend other than events like weather and weekends?
Wolves are hard- wired to answer or to come to certain sounds. Once the hunters(or news media) have spread the word on what works, the wolves will be even easier to kill. One skilled hunter could kill dozens.
This season should not have started until November or December, when the wolves and the hunters are more concentrated and eaier to monitor. I think a lot of wolves are going to be killed and left to rot. The rest of the pack of today’s “harvested”wolf milled around and would have been easy targets if other hunters had been present, or if the hunter was inclined to shoot and shutup. They may eventually get wiser, but this year they are going to be sitting ducks.
Funny that you hate humans so much but strive so hard to anthropomorphise wolves. 🙂
Most things that come out of your mouth are a contradiction. If being Oregonian is reason not to know the rules (while criticizing the rules that you say don’t exist) then I guess the same reasoning would cause you not to worry about wildlife in Idaho.
It would be better for your cause to quiet down.
It didn’t seem like judge Molloy was concerned with numbers of wolves, i.e. the irrepprable (sp?) harm issue. He was concerned with if the wolves could be put back on the esa which would be next to impossible. Earthjustice will have this in the 9th circuit tho…
I suspect you may be right, not because of the reasons you say, but I am sure as things go along, they will become harder to find, just as any other game animal does, I always prefer to hunt early season, late seasons are always more difficult to get an animal..
I am sure in their own way, every single animal that is killed during a hunting season, does feel a loss because the circumstances have changed and they are not interacting with the same animals as they did before..
But I am sure, as they figure out, that they are now the prey, their patterns will change and the future seasons will become more difficult, in fact I would suspect it will become more difficult within a couple of weeks at most…
No Malloy is not concerned with numbers, he is concerned with law, which is the only thing he should be concerned with..
Emotions should never come into a legal ruling…they don’t make policy, they interpret law
Ralph, I agree. Wildlife Services is a much larger threat to wolves than this hunt will be. I do think that there will be surplus killing by hunters and there will be many wolves killed and left to rot.
My concern, as with everything that is related to IDFG and wolves, is that nobody will know about it even if it’s discovered.
Why is everything such a secret with them?
Larry Thorngren, no skilled hunter can kill dozens! IT’S ONE TAG, ONE WOLF!!!!!! You are as bad as the Liberal media, keep on twisting it! I really don’t think the vast majority of ethical hunters are going to risk Jail time, license revocation, fines, and loss of rifles ect to shot more than one wolf! You are going waay over the edge to try and make this sound a lot worse than it is! It’s seems the F&G is out there watching, they know if this gets out of hand what will happen!
Didn’t mean that Save Bears, it was a question Molloy had asked Mr Honnold. You had to be there I guess…
It’s extremely easy to use a predator call. Or squeak on the back of their hand. Sheesh – anyone can do it. It’s insane that this was allowed to occur on a naive population.
Craig said, ” I really don’t think the vast majority of ethical hunters are going to risk Jail time, license revocation, fines, and loss of rifles ect . . ”
This may be true but there are enough of the crazy ones that will. It will only take a few. When wolves were first extirpated, it was done by a reletively few, mostly and government paid wolfers and trappers. Now there are so many more people that want to shoot wolves and so many fewer wolves to start with.
I think when wolves were first extirpated every homsteader, Miner, ect shot a Wolf on sight and there were many! There was no legal control then, no hunting season, no fish and game! Again quit trying to twist things to fit your agenda.
I don’t think we can say this is a naive population, come on, WS has been killing hundreds of them for years now, so it is not like they have not be shot at and killed, and I am sure in addition to the helicopters and other tools they have, they have also used calls..these are really not animals that have not been hunted….
Wildlife Services prefers aerial gunning …more cheap thrills that way. Hard to call from an aero-plane. And poisons -like the Riggins “accidental” M-44 poisoning on I believe a domestic sheep allotment a little while back. They seem to like accidents.
OR: Unless you’re like that former Fish and Game Commissioner Ray/Roy Moulton – one of the Kempthorne appointments from over in eastern Idaho who had a hang glider or something. The neighbors complained about him hanging over their property plinking away.
I have said many times on this blog I don’t condone aerial hunting in any form what so ever, but I was just making the statement, these are not naive animals, they have been hunted in one form or another since almost day one..there has never been a time, where they were “Just left alone”, I can say, with almost 100% certainty that wolves in the tri-state area are very familiar with gun shots and being harassed…so to portray them as naive animals is as much of a non accurate statement as those who say they have wiped out all of the elk…
There is a big dfference between “hearing gun shots” and predator calling.
Stop trying to minimize effects. Seems to be your role, like Gamblin.
I should have said one un-ethical skilled hunter could kill dozens. When I show and sell my wolf photographs at Idaho art shows, I have had some people so rabidly anti-wolf, that they actually foam at the mouth as they badmouth my wolf photos. They think it is a horrible sin to even take photos of wolves. Some of these folks are a few cards short of a full deck and are capable of anything. I won’t name any names, but Lynne could give you a few hints.
kt, that is BS and you know it, I don’t agree with Gamblin anymore than I do with you..
Even if wolves were shot on sight by every homesteader and miner there were still a lot fewer homesteaders and miners then there are hunters and ranchers now. And a lot more wolves then than there are now. Relatively speaking, it didn’t take long, for so few to kill so many then, and it wont take long for so many to kill so few now. How is speaking the plain truth “twisting things to fit my agenda.”
does anybody have an actual count of how many wolves were killed today? I was sure the so called “Rednecks” would be bragging all over the place!
At any rate, it will be the biggest wolf killing in the lower 48 in maybe 90 years.
Even if wolves were shot on sight by every homesteader and miner there were still a lot fewer homesteaders and miners then there are hunters and ranchers now. And a lot more wolves then than there are now. Relatively speaking, it didn’t take long, for so few to kill so many then, and it wont take long for so many to kill so few now. How is speaking the plain truth “twisting things to fit my agenda.”
That is the plain truth. All we can do is hope that it does not come true.
from reports i heard only 2 were shot today, not the mass extinction i was lead to believe would happen
Craig you wrote “I’ve called Elk for over 20 years and haven’t got a Bull to Bugle , to a bugle (challange call) or a cow call (mating call) for over 5 years in Stanley! They are wise and are quite now because of the Wolves and hunters calling them. The Wolves too will learn to be wary of calls!”
your absolutly right these animals like any others will learn to adapt. they will move away from ppl which should lead to less conflicts, they will become more secluded and nocturnal. these are smart animals and arnt going to line up and watch while they are exicuted like it sounds like has been suggested.
I have called coyotes for years, from about mid-september to first of october the younger dogs will respond fairly quickly. But about Thanksgiving time you will RARELY call a dog in at that time. They become very smart very quickly. And thats dealing with coyotes which there are obviously thousands and thousands more of them than wolves. And Larry they are hard-wired to react to a call, that does not mean they will always come in. If that was true I could kill a bull elk every year just by blowing on my elk call. But you and I both know that does not happen. It will get harder as the season goes on.
Chance, there is no doubt that wolves will learn to adapt as you said. The main thing to worry about is, will people take hunting to an extreme like they did when the first population in the lower 48 was eradicated? That is the concern that I have and I think it is safe to say a lot of others have.
If the season was halted you would see a lot more wolves killed by the so called crazy hunters than even with a season. At least with a season they may lighten up a bit because they feel like they have some kind of control. Real sportsmen abide by the rules and regulations in place and will maybe fill their tag and be done with it. It might be a good idea to let this season play out and see what happens after it is all said and done. We may learn some things we did not know about how wolves react to hunting.
ProWolf, I think you need to read up a little on the history of wolves and talk to some old timers. Wolves were not easy to eradicate. It only happened with very intensive poisoning anf trapping, neither of which is currently legal.
Some old timers say there were only 38 wolves in YNP.
I doubt that this will change much of the mindset around wolves, more to the point it has a higher chance of increase the supposition that killing them is a noble thing, killing the killer and so forth.
KTVB has a headline that says that there have been two wolves shot on Tuesday but there are no details about the second one. They also say the the one pictured was shot on the Lolo National Forest but that is in Montana. Their reporter seems to know nothing about the issue. I doubt the credibility of their reporting on this.
Now there are details in the Idaho Statesman story I linked to telling about a hunter who shot a wolf at Bull Trout Lake that was “harassing his horse”
So how can you mix elusive with harrassment? Not that I agree at all, but I’ve heard that wolves will stalk me at the bus stop to kill me and my children, but they are elusive and may be hard to kill from the same lemonade stand…the two points don’t stand together.
I think the wolf-haters have been killing wolves all along, and will continue to do so, whether it is legal or not. As you’ve alluded to, the real question is, will allowing hunters to kill wolves increase tolerance for the species? In fact, the entire delisting rests on this supposition. I can’t find anything in the research literature that directly addresses this question but, based on years of studying human attitudes, I am doubtful.
I think this is a more likely scenario:
(a) The wolf-haters will continue to hate (and illegally kill) wolves no matter the policy on hunting wolves.
(b) The livestock producers will continue to push for wolves to be killed, no matter the policy on hunting.
(c) Residents (including sportsmen) who have supported predators will continue to support predators no matter the policy on hunting wolves.
(d) The “fence-sitting” sportsmen will continue to piss and moan no matter the policy on hunting wolves (we saw this with cougars in Utah). It didn’t matter what the quota was, people always wanted more of them killed. The only difference is, the moan a bit harder when populations are higher.
In other words, I don’t think the wolf hunt will change anyone’s attitudes, nor increase tolerance. Rather, it will simply result in the loss of a fair portion of the population.
THis whole issue has turned into a disaster. Never in the history of the ESA has an animal been delisted with such a low population level. Ralph has said it, that it is the political pressure brought on Salazar who is sympathetic to livestock interests that created this mess. Packs will be fragmented, isolated, with little chance for genetic exchange. I have nothing but contempt for the Ron Gillettes of the world that are motivated by hatred.
I have had wolves come right into my camp in broad daylight in unit 34 of the Sawtooth Zone… Their interested in the horses, the last time was in July, and it was 10:30 a.m.
I was relaxing enjoying oatmeal and shelled hemp seeds, All the while watching my horse graze.. He saw them first, I knew something was approaching us, by his actions, I stood up and there they were, as soon as they realized I was there they booked it out of there..
I suspect had I not been there trouble of some sort would take place, As well in some area’s while plodding along on during my outings the wolves follow us in the trail, they bark they howl.. My point is this, not so shy are they.
I was camped in their hunting spot, there is a difference I notice about wolves while being amongst them, if I camp up high in a lake basin above the creek bottoms they hunt I don’t see them up there.. I still hear them at times down in the country a I crossed to get to the lake..
I have yet to find a shot up wolf from these legendary wolf haters..In fact I have yet to meet the wolf hater also…
If hunters leave their horse alone in the forest they deserve what happens them…And last (sorry) if I back pack in to the same place I never see them just hear em..and see the tracks all though I know they see me..
Now I must get outside..This country needs admired every single day…it gets jealous ya know..
I should’ve added to my prior post: Should elk populations increase following the wolf hunt, I think we will see groups like SFW become even more vocal in making demands that wolf (and other predator) populations be reduced (or maintained at very low levels).
The hunter that killed the wolf yesterday and said he was taking it to a taxidermist is wasting his money. The photo of the dead wolf shows that its’ stomach area has bare skin. The wolf is starting to shed its’ summer coat. The hair will continue to fall out now that the wolf is dead.
The pups are unable to hunt on their own and survive this time of year. An ethical hunter would not shoot a cougar with kittens. An ethical hunter (and Game Commission)would show that same courtesy to wolves.
Ethical and knowledgeable hunters will wait until November, or better yet, December to hunt wolves. The pups will have their adult teeth in December and the beautiful winter pelts of the adults are worth taking to a taxidermist.
To Wiliam Huard and his comment “this whole issue has turned into a disaster.”
William, you would benefit from a better background and understanding of the reintroduction process which began over twenty-five years ago. It was ALWAYS contemplated that wolf numbers would be regulated by the states once reintroduction/ in-migration from Canada was accomplished. The question is, what are the sustainable numbers of wolves (balance point) that can be accomodated in concert with other wildlife/ predator species. Of course, overlaid on the carrying capacity issue are the competing people issues, now that more humans live, recreate and try to make a living in the West.
Furthermore, the ESA as currently enacted, is not a very good “one size fits all” law. Wolves, as we have learned in a very short period, are highly prolfic, adaptable, and like no other “threatened or endangered” species have overlapping prey tendencies that significantly affect human populations and their interests. Why is it that every state- and their duly elected officials and agencies- into which wolves have been introduced wants to manage them?
Blake, you’re on $100 bet — and it assumes there is no stay issued by the courts. Nearly 10K tags issued to kill 220 animals. I hope I lose the bet but do not see how given the disdain of the salivating hunt ’em and kill’em crowd.
“Ethical and knowledgeable hunters will wait until November, or better yet, December to hunt wolves. The pups will have their adult teeth in December and the beautiful winter pelts of the adults are worth taking to a taxidermist.”
I agree but if history is any indication, there may not be a legal season by then. Remember, part of the reason for this hunt is to allow hunters to participate in controlling the population.
so why are they talking about pelts? Brian TT
“…part of the reason for this hunt is to allow hunters to participate in controlling the population.”
I was unaware that the population was out of control. I think the above statement should read: “…the reason for this event is to allow people with guns to kill wolves.”
Yeah JB, blah, blah, blah. Do you ever have anything new to say? Wolf populations in the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones are at a level that are having a negative impact on the elk herds. It has been documented and proven by the Idaho Fish & Game biologists and if you didn’t have blinders on you would know that.
gline, I don’t have an answer for that other than maybe that guy thinks he can get a good pelt from a summer coat. I guess his taxidermist will educate him.
“Yeah JB, blah, blah, blah. Do you ever have anything new to say?”
— Brain: You “hunt” for animals you value; you “kill” animals that you deem to be a nuisance. I’m just being honest about the terminology. If you don’t like my use of words, that’s your prerogative.
“Wolf populations in the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones are at a level that are having a negative impact on the elk herds. It has been documented and proven by the Idaho Fish & Game biologists and if you didn’t have blinders on you would know that.”
— IDF&G hasn’t “proven” anything. A proof is mathematical statement that can be demonstrated to be true in all cases. IDF&G has correlational data that suggest wolves are having an impact on elk recruitment in two management zones. Even if their evidence was irrefutable, which it isn’t, it hardly suggests that wolves are out of control. Still, I don’t have a problem with hunting wolves in the Sawtooth and Lolo, nor even hunting them in general. However, I do have a problem with: (1) hunting them EVERYWHERE, regardless of their density and (2) killing wolves for the sake of killing wolves, which is what you’re doing when you shoot a wolf this time of year (as others have explained).
Did you just say that you were an un-ethical hunter?
You know Brian TT my point being and you didn’t catch was that the hunt isn’t just about “controlling the population” as you say. Personally I would never wear a wolf pelt and those pelts will be sold to rich people in the cities very far away. What a waste.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and observances in the backcountry. I have one question for you. Do you know what it most likely means when a wolf barks at you?
This is not a trick question. I am sincerely asking
JB, they may have hunting everywhere but the quotas have been set to reflect the wolf populations in that zone. For example, the South Mountain zone is a huge area but only a quota of 10 wolves. Are you saying that they should wait until the population is ‘out of control’ before any control measures are implemented?
Larry, I don’t believe so? What are you referring to? I offered a possible explanation why someone might kill a wolf this time of year. I myself plan on waiting until late November before I will spend any time looking for one. If the hunts get cancelled then I guess I made a $11.50 donation to F&G. That’s alright with me, I won’t get in line for a refund.
gline, read my post again, I said “part of the reason” is for population control, not that it was “just about controlling the population”.
IDFG made a decision back in the early 1960s to manage for elk. At that time there were a lot of mule deer in this state and few elk. Deer were hammered with long either- sex seasons and extra deer tags. At that time you could legally kill up to four deer in Idaho. Elk replaced deer on many Idaho winter ranges.
The reason for that decision was money$$$$$.
Elk bring in far more out- of- $tate hunters that buy high priced hunting licenses and elk tags than deer do. Idaho was turned into a giant money$$$$-making elk farm. The present IDFG is addicted to that money. It makes up a good portion of their annual budget.
The reason for the so-called need to control and reduce the number of wolves is that they eat elk. Less elk = less money$$$$$ for the IDFG.
They see the wolves like ranchers do, as a threat to their livelyhood.
I want to preface the following questions with saying that while I don’t consume meat I do eat a lot of fish and am grateful that there is a fisherman willing to do what I would not want to do.
Also, I think that “meeting your meat” face to face (hunter and prey) is inherently a less of a hypocritical endeavor than picking out a shrink wrapped steak and altogether ignoring the suffering of the slaughtered cow.
Would a hunter please explain to me the psychological “journey” which you undertake during the hunting process — from targeting to firing to watching the light leave the animal’s eyes?
I imagine that physicologically there is an adrenalin rush. But what are the emotions that one typically experiences?
Also, would a hunter explain why anyone would be drawn to working for Wildlife Services?
“Are you saying that they should wait until the population is ‘out of control’ before any control measures are implemented?”
Not at all. Though, I don’t think their “out of control” anywhere in the state; though I suspect we might disagree on what “out of control” means.
Look, Idaho’s current wolf density (statewide) is about 1 wolf per 85-100 square miles (depending on how you count wolves). Of course, this statement assumes an even distribution of wolves, which we know is not the case. In some areas wolf density might be as high as 1 wolf/25 square miles; in other areas, as low as 1 wolf/200 square miles (those numbers are pure guestimates). All I’m saying is that, overall, wolf densities are extremely low and really don’t require any action at all (there are only 824-1000 wolves in the whole friggin’ state!). If IDF&G thinks wolves are having an impact on elk in the Lolo and Sawtooth, then I understand why they would set liberal quotas there. If IDF&G thinks wolves may soon impact elk in some other management units, then I can see why they would allow some wolf hunting in those units. But you can’t tell me we need to hunt wolves in all 78 management units in Idaho.
“Out of control” relates to a sociological carrying capacity, not the biological carrying capacity of the “suitable habitat” (USFWS descriptive in the last three editions of the delisting rule).
In point of fact, Ed Bangs conceded during a probing phone conversation last December that there is enough “suitable habitat” in the tri-state region to support 5,000 to 6,000 wolves.
I asked why the Service didn’t require those holding public grazing allotments to “carve out” conflict free denning areas and travel corridors?
In effect, Bangs responded that, not surprislingly, the political climate was unfavorable and the Service was not committed to expending its political, financial, and man power resources to facilitating the availability to wolves (which as Bangs touts are a “recovered” population — though leading, independent wolf scientists maintain the NRM population is a “recovering” one)) of all or even most of the “suitable habitat”.
Bottom line: without strong and courageous leadership from federal wolf recovery officials and the amendment to the federal grazing rights/ limitations, NRM wolves will continue to be imprisoned in the “out of control” rubric, so very useful to IF&G.
the idaho statesman is now reporting a third wolf shot yesterday
I thought they had different quotas for different areas…. So that would be managing wolves differently in different areas. Hence more wolves killed in the Lolo vs a region not as effected as the Lolo. So they are basically doing what you are talking about.
ProWolf, I think you need to read up a little on the history of wolves and talk to some old timers. Wolves were not easy to eradicate. It only happened with very intensive poisoning anf trapping, neither of which is currently legal.
Elkchaser, I am aware that the poisoning and trapping are not legal, my concern is that people may resort to that or try to open those options up. I know that with hunting it is much less likely.
Idaho was turned into a giant money$$$$-making elk farm.
Larry, change Idaho to “most western states”. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were spoiled with their unnaturally high elk populations for years. Colorado wants to stay spoiled.
Thanks for the link Ralph, thats how UT manages cougars here also. A region quota, so at least they are targeting the areas they feel are the worst hit. Only 5 in the entire southern half of the state… Must not be many wolves in that part.
“Would a hunter please explain to me the psychological “journey” which you undertake during the hunting process — from targeting to firing to watching the light leave the animal’s eyes?”
I’ll give this a go, the hunt usually starts for me in May and June with scouting trips into the back county, visiting familiar haunts and checking out new ones. I try to scout and hike 2 or 3 times a month, in late june I set out my trail cameras in likely locations and check them on a bi-weekly basis. This is always super exciting as I get hundred of pictures of some of my cameras over the summer with pictures of everything from Elk and deer, to squirrels, raccoons, birds, etc. I also try espicially hard to be more physically active and get into better shape. Then, usually about a week prior to hunting season I figure out where I am going to hunt based off the information I gathered all summer. This year was different as I had to change plans mid week as my partner cancelled. On the friday before opening day I drove over and stayed with my hunting partner and close friend and we came up with a game plan for opening day. We left a 4:00 opening morning and drove 15 minutes to where we hunt at and began our 2 mile hike in where we waited on the landing until first light at ~ 6:00. We could hear the elk bugling in the valley below us in the still calm morning air. We split up and made a game plan to get to the bottom on either side of the drainiage, and began our descent. When I got to the bottom I began to shadow the herd for about 30 minuted until I slipped to within 15 yards. At that point I waited for an elk to turn broadside and give me an ethical shot, came to full draw and released my arrow behind the shoulder of a nice young cow elk. It was a huge rush, to get that close and finally be successful. I watched her bolt about 20 yards, turn around to see what happened, at that point her knees became wobbly and she tipped over, kicked twice and was done in under 30 seconds. I’m not sure she even knew what happened. When I walked up to her was a bittersweet moment, on one hand there was the joy of hard work paying off and successful clean kill, on the other its sad to see an animal you respect that die. But thats part of life, whether you choose to do your own dirty work, or lets someone else do it for you. I can guarantee you she lived a much better life than any farm animal and had a much more humane end. We relived the hunt for a little bit, but then the realization of the work ahead of us set in. 6 hours later, 3 trips, and about 4000 vertical feet we got all of the meat to the cooler, hanging, and cold. This elk wasn’t the trophy bull I’ve dreamt about, but it will feed my family with nutritious meat for the winter.
I would not venture to personally answer either of your quesions, based solely on your prefatory framing, and you strike me as being a city dweller, as well. However, you might ask Lynne Stone, at least the first question, since she professes to be a deer hunter.
As to your second- “why would anyone be drawn to working for Wildlife Services (aka WS – the agency within US Dept. of Agriculture (APHIS) that deals with problem predators, including aerial gunning of wolves, as well as applying insecticides, and other pest or plant control measures)? Let me postulate that it could be as simple as, it is a good (and perhaps even exciting) stable, government job with great benefits. I strongly doubt those who are charged with dispatching problem wolves, coyotes, skunks, racoons, the occasional bear, and other problem animals feeding on livestock give much introspective thought to the individual animals that are taken. Harsh, you may say, but it is a job someone apparently has to do. They may even view it as doing good things for society, including health and safety. They probably even receive positive reinforcement from the individual farmers and ranchers they help. Recall these people with wildlife problems, whether you personally like it or not, are trying to make a living by raising stock, or maybe just wanting the family horse not to be eaten by a wolf.
Carrying this one step further, you might ask why the person with the bolt gun, dispatching the next set of beef steaks to be, at the slaughter house does what he/she does?
Again, given your prefatory statement, let me ask you whether your feelings run as deeply for the individual elk, cow or horse, who has its rump eaten or underside ripped open by one or more wolves, as the life slowly, very slowly, and painfully, drains from its body.
Thinking in real example terms, and closely in timeline, apply this visualization to the 122 individual sheep that were killed south of Dillon two weeks ago. Not a pretty site, I expect, and a slow painful death for many which were not even eaten. Tell me a WS hunter would not find some satisfaction in removing those wolves, just tell me.
“I thought they had different quotas for different areas…. So that would be managing wolves differently in different areas. Hence more wolves killed in the Lolo vs a region not as effected as the Lolo. So they are basically doing what you are talking about.”
Josh, there’s a big difference between what Idaho is doing and what I’m suggesting. Let me see if I can put it in terms that will make sense to you: If there were 20 elk in all of southern Idaho, would you support harvesting 5 (25%) of the population? Of course not! Doing so would put that population in jeopardy. You don’t kill back a very small population of valued animals when they’re expanding their range. You allow for the population expansion to occur in order to generate more of a valued resource.
There are 78 management units and (we’ll use the larger number) 1000 wolves. That’s an average ~13 wolves/unit and we’ve already established that some units have many more than others. So I ask again, if IDFG truly values wolves, why would they harvest them in every unit in the entire state?
JB – I believe you are making a valid point. There is an assumption that if wolves are valued there must be a desire for relatively more wolves or perhaps for the largest number of wolves habitat and prey populations are capable of supporting. However, I don’t believe the IDFG has stated or implied that position. The Department has consistently stated that there is a desire and need to manage wolf numbers in balance with other public wildlife resources (elk e.g.) and private property (livestock, pets e.g.). In fact wolves were classified by the Fish and Game Commission as a big game animal to assign value to them, as we do other predators – bears and lions. Classifying wolves as valuable game animals is not inconsitstent with population objectives below natural carrying capacity.
The answer to your elk management analogy question is: Of course we might, if there were an important conflict between that small elk herd and another important public or private resources and if the population reduction didn’t jeapardize the viability and sustainability of the population and if that population were not endangered. That almost describes our situation with Idaho wolves. We don’t have a small population of wolves. We have well over 1,000 wolves in Idaho today, increasing at a rate of near 20%. There are in fact examples of small herds of elk in southern Idaho that we may manage to reduce numbers significantly or remove a herd altogether because of serious agricultural crop depredation conflicts. The IDFG wildlife depredation program is an example of a broader policy that directs wildlife management to resolve conflicts between public wildlife and private property that seems to be lost for awareness in these current discussions of wolf mangement objectives. Managing wolf numbers to correct conflicts with other societal values (elk, livestock or pets) is not unique for wolves. It is a basic wildlife management concept in Idaho and other states.
In regards to your statement that wolves will be valued as a game animal, there hasn’t been much respect blowing around of late or since the reintroduction. It is more akin to revenge and hatred of the species and now a satisfaction that hunters involved will be able to kill a [and I quote] ‘blood thirsty killing machine’. What you have done is not allowed value to be placed on the wolf, but on the people who will kill them.
Allowing wolves to be killed out of revenge for attacking livestock and pets instead of first sorting out the issue regarding the reason behind most conflict which is first and foremost the education on how to avoid the scenarios in the first place. Your issue is not wolves, its the people and their outdated attitude toward wildlife.
You are right Brian TT, you did nudge the word “part” in, perhaps at the last moment. I just see that you agree with this hunt and I do not, as it is a hunt of revenge.
JB, consider that Mark’s carefully crafted comment is absent a candid discussion of the underlying context of wolves as a “valuable resource.”
One needs to delve a little deeper in to the assignment of “value”. To whom does this value accrue? Is it a positive or negative value? Can the value be quantified? Does the value change with geographic distribution of the resource? Does the value change in proportion to the numbers of individual wolves in a given area? To have this value, does it also mean that other resources and their value are decreased? How and who decides the balance point for competing “valuable resources?”
I do not know that these are easy questions to answer, and there are undoubtedly more. While on the one hand IDFG has determined wolves have value in the context of a game animal, they are also perceived as a liability, or negative value to the production of elk, and maybe deer. A livestock owner will also weigh in with a claim of negative value with respect to private property interests. A person who wants to see wolves in the wild will claim positive value, as might a public land manager who sees that wolf presence keeps elk from streamside areas or aspen groves, allowing revegation of these overused and fragile areas.
Recall that ID, MT, WY and other states are oriented to meeting the legal obligation of the ESA, and no more. This suggests the value of wolves as against competing valuable resoures has already been determined, and the balance point has been set.
Thanks for the reply. These arguments are becoming more nuanced, which is good (and rare for a discussion about wolves). However, I think it is also easy to lose the forest through the trees in this type of discussion (i.e. talk past one another). I don’t have a lot of time today, but I’d like to make a few points with respect to the value of wolves:
(1) Your statement: “…wolves were classified by the Fish and Game Commission as a big game animal to assign value to them” speaks volumes about how the commission views wildlife. It implies that the Fish and Game Commission only views species that are classified as “game” species as having any value. Of course, this makes sense from IDF&G’s perspective, as the agency’s primary method of collecting money for management is license sales (i.e. hunting game species). However, as we have discussed already, many people view wolves as valuable for non-consumptive purposes. The fact that IDF&G is killing wolves where there densities are very low suggests [again] that it puts the values of consumptive users ahead of non-consumptive users. I think I can speak for most of the people who post here when I say that we ascribed value to wolves long before the IDF&G Commission decided to classify them as a game species.
(2) Value is relative; that is, we always gauge the value of an object/entity by comparing it with another object/entity. On another thread, you argued that the wolf hunt was undertaken, in part, because… “In some parts of the state, wolves are now reducing elk production and recruitment below levels that can be sustained by habitat in those areas and with levels of hunting that were allowed prior to wolves becoming established in those areas.” But, on this thread you contend, “[c]lassifying wolves as valuable game animals is not inconsitstent with population objectives below natural carrying capacity.”
I hope that placing these statements side by side makes my point obvious. But let me be clear about how people who value wolves for non-consumptive purposes will read these two statements: In the first statement you assert that we are managing wolves in some areas because without wolves those areas could support more elk and thus, more elk hunters–in your words, wolves are holding elk “below their natural carrying capacity.” However, in the second statement you argue that classifying a species as a game animal (as both elk and wolves are classified) is consistent with population objectives below natural carrying capacity.
Again, these statements reveal a lot about how the IDF&G Game Commission values wolves relative to other species. Specifically, we see wolves are to be held below their natural carrying capacity throughout the state because in two of 78 units they are keeping elk from reaching their natural carrying capacity. Let me put this in terms that everyone familiar with basic mathematics can understand; in the view of IDF&G’s Game Commission: Elk > Wolves.
(3) Finally, regarding my elk analogy you asserted: “The answer to your elk management analogy question is: Of course we might [reduce the population to very low numbers], if there were an important conflict between that small elk herd and another important public or private resources…”
Are you suggesting that wolves are causing important conflict with another public or private resource in all 78 management units in Idaho? If so, it suggests that the very low densities of wolves witnessed in southern Idaho still are not low enough to be socially acceptable in the view of IDF&G’s Game Commission. Which makes me wonder, who exactly are wolves being managed for?
I have much more to say on the topic of value, but I am currently wrangling a one year old who has just now awakened. Hopefully, we can chat more about the topic of value later.
There is enough research that suggests that if you remove the leaders of a pack the subordinates and/or pups will target easier prey such as livestock, to at least have given this “hypothesis” some consideration by IDFG. Are you telling me that the department has dismissed this theory out of hand? If so why?
And if it occurs that livestock depredation does increase as a result of this “Grudge Hunt”, is there a plan in place to deal with it or will wolves be targeted for a stepped up control action further decreasing their numbers? Has that been part of the plan all along? It seems that if increased livestock depredation were even a possibility, IDFG would have written into its plan measures to avoid the loss of important pack leaders. This is the 3rd time I have asked this simple question. If I don’t get an answer this time, I will assume this is not a question that you wish to address, which then begs the question, why?
JB – You are correct that we don’t “prove” anything with the radio-telemetry data you referenced. In fact science as a discipline doesn’t prove conclusions. Mathmeticians enjoy a certainty from mathematical proofs that the rest of society, including wildlife managers, envy.
Regarding the radio-telemetry data that precisely document wolf predation on cow and calf elk – the data are not correlational. Correlation analysis measures the strength of the relationship between two variables. If correlation analysis were used to help understand the intensity of wolf predation on cow and calf elk, we would have regressed a metric of elk predation by wolves against a metric of elk production and recruitment, which would yield an estimate of the strength of the relationship between the two within bounds of statistical confidence (r) or an estimate of how much of the variation in a sample of elk production or recruitment is described by the wolf predation metric (r-squared). The radio-telemetry data gives a direct and much more certain estimate of wolf predation effects on elk production and recruitment. Because the collars allow us to track the fate of each collared animal, we know if it survived or died and if it died, what the cause of death was. With those data, we know precisely the rate of wolf caused mortality for those collared elk which gives us a very accurate estimate of the rate of wolf caused mortality for all cow and calf elk in that geographic area. It isn’t a mathematical proof, but these radio-telemetry data are the most reliable data (evidence) that can reasonably be gathered to explain the effect of wolf predation on elk production and recruitment (two different population processes) in the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones.
I suggest that debates about what “out of control” means or if it applies to Idaho wolves is/are unnecessary. From a management perspective wolves are not out of control, evil or hated. Hunts are not motivated by “revenge” – I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t apply to recommendations, deliberations or decisions by the IDFG or the Fish and Game Commission. The hunts are wolf population management tools and allowable public benefits of a robust, viable and sustainable wolf population – compatible with other public uses for this wildlife resource such as wolf viewing or the simple knowledge that wolves are now a permanent part of the Idaho landscape.
JB – You are inferring attitudes by the Commission towards non-game species – from the classification of wolves as a big game animal – that from personal experience with the Commission as a body and individual Commissioners, I know to be incorrect. If my comments about big game status and the enhanced value as a managed big game species – for wolves – implied that conclusion, then the error is mine. Assigning big game status does confers specific management attention for population objectives and public benefits to be provided by those objectives. But to say that this Commission does not recognize the value that non-game species represent for most of the Idaho public is to fundamentally misunderstand the policies and philosophies of the Commission and the IDFG. We have a Conservation Sciences division in the Wildlife Bureau that is devoted to conservation and management of non-game species, because the Commissioin recognized long ago and committed to our responsibilites to ALL Idaho wildlife.
A couple more comments, then I’ll be offline until after the Labor Day weekend.
JB – I agree, these are very important issues and societal values we are discussing.
“Are you suggesting that wolves are causing important conflict with another public or private resource in all 78 management units in Idaho? If so, it suggests that the very low densities of wolves witnessed in southern Idaho still are not low enough to be socially acceptable in the view of IDF&G’s Game Commission. Which makes me wonder, who exactly are wolves being managed for?”
I am saying that we manage wolf numbers to achieve a variety of biological and social objectives. For example, in my region – the Southeast Region Big Desert east to the Wyoming border and roughly Idaho Falls south to I-84 – wolves will continue to move through this geographical area looking for new territories, mates, etc., but this is a part of the state where a sustained presence of wolves will not be compatible with the level of human habitation and developement including livestock and other private property resources. Wolves and other wildlife resources are one consideration for wolf mangement objectives in this region, but not the most significant. The reality is that the Southeast Region, and most of southern Idaho is not suitable habitat for wolves BECAUSE of the certainty of persistent, serious conflicts with livestock and other private property resources. In other parts of the state (the other 78 BGMU’s), there are other management considerations that affect wolf hunting objectives. In each of those units, the legitimate desire for wolf hunting opportunity is one consideration. Managing wolf numbers to minimize predation impacts to other public wildlife resources or public property resources are two other common considerations.
catbestland – I’ve responded several times to the question about hunting-caused pack fragmentation and increased wolf depredations on livestock. Here’s what I said before:
The prediction that hunting will fragment wolf packs, disrupting their social order to the extent that inexperienced, naive sub-adult wolves will turn to livestock for an unnatural source of food – is speculative conjecture. It is so because there is no research or data that I know of that describes such a relationship between wolf hunting and livestock depredation. The current literature describes effects of removal of a breeding adult or breeding pair from a wolf pack. Often, non-breeding adults in the pack or outside of the pack quickly fill the vacant breeding positions and the pack continues with new breeding adult(s). If a pack were to dissolve the territory will be quickly filled by a new pack structure, but the geographical boundaries of habitat occupied by a pack is known to be very stable. More importantly, the vast majority of hunting kills will be in-experienced sub-adult wolves. Hunting is very unlikely to take adult wolves, especiall experience breeding adults. The scenario of hunting resulting in chaotic disorder in the social structure of many packs across the landscape is very unlikely to occur. As (if) wolf hunting continues over time, we will have experience here in Idaho to directly answer those questions. In the mean time, experience in Alaska and Canada does not suggest that we should expect wolf hunting to increase livestock depredations in Idaho.
You are way over-analyzing the administrative allocation of these modest wolf harvest numbers in the various game management units AND clustering of units into zones for harvest tracking purposes. I mean way……..over-analyzing it. These are HUGE land areas, and the estimate of wolves are, according to Dr. David Mech, the chief USFWS scientist, underestimated by at least 20 percent. The underestimation gap will continue to grow as the wolves disperse over larger land areas, and the ability to track their numbers decreases due to lack of administrative resources and other factors. His statement, under oath, was made over a year ago in the first Montana law suit. Dr. Mech is arguably the foremost wolf scientist in the US, and is based out of the U of Minnesota, where he studied the Western Great Lakes wolves as well as the NRM wolves for many years.
May I suggest you, and other interested readers, download the 2008 Idaho Wolf Report and actually read it, look at the maps, and then project forward a year, recognizing the fact that the wolf population has increased by the 20% or better that Dr. Mech has stated.
The ID report is at:
Or, go to the ID Fish and Game website and search using the terms “wolf annual report 2008” There is also some good data on a couple of the zones showing elk populations have been impacted significantly by growing wolf numbers….again the data is a year old, and would suggest signficant underestimation of pack numbers and individual wolf numbers.
Furthermore, JB, it seems your logical constructs take Mark’s comments out of context and then twist them to your own apparent predetermined desired end. Aristotle, the father of formal logic would roll over in his grave at your liberties with the discipline.
Wilderness Muse – You did a better job of explaining what I said above – “We have well over 1,000 wolves in Idaho today, increasing at a rate of near 20%.”
Well mark have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend Hope you can sleep at night.
You still have not answered the question.
IF increased livestock predation occurs because of the “Grudge Hunt”, what will be IDGF’s response???? Will it be to increase contro actions and further reduce the population of wolves????
“As (if) wolf hunting continues over time, we will have experience here in Idaho to directly answer those questions.”
However, you’ve lost a major opportunity to answer such questions due to the fact that there are no large unhunted areas in the state to use as a control, to compare population structures, growth rates, etc. In addition, with regards to your statements earlier that all stakeholders, including nonconsumptive users, are valued equally in decisions regarding management, the idea to leave an unhunted area to allow for wolf tourism and wolf viewing doesn’t seem to have been seriously considered by the IDFG, even though such programs have been extremely successful in other areas such as Yellowstone and Algonquin NPs.
“In the mean time, experience in Alaska and Canada does not suggest that we should expect wolf hunting to increase livestock depredations in Idaho.”
Do you have any data from any areas in either of these states with similar densities of both wolves and livestock to support this assumption? I’d be interested in seeing them.
As far as hunting creating “value” for wolves, again, I am unaware of data to back this assertion and would be interested in your sources. The studies I am aware of do not show that people place more value on a species because they can hunt it or are compensated for it. For examp,e. “Paying for Tolerance: Rural Citizens’ Attitudes toward Wolf Depredation and Compensation” states “Livestock producers and bear hunters who had been compensated for their losses to wolves were not more tolerant than their counterparts who alleged a loss but received no compensation.” The metastudy “A quantitative summary of attitudes toward wolves and their reintroduction (1972–2000) ” did not find that support for wolves was greater in areas where hunting was allowed- in fact, the opposite was true.
You stated “There is enough research that suggests that if you remove the leaders of a pack the subordinates and/or pups will target easier prey such as livestock…”
I wonder if you would be so kind as to direct me to authoritative literature sources which reach this conclusion. I, and perhaps others, would interested in learning more.
Not catbestland here, and perhaps she has a study, but I see this as now just a hypothesis, but one that can be tested with the hunt.
It is a reasonable hypothesis because pups really can’t hunt at all until about 10 months, and wolves are not really adept until about 1 1/2 years.
So if wolves are starving and sheep are nearby, it is reasonable to think they will attack the easy prey. However, we don’t know that this will happen, so I see the results of the hunt as a test.
The recent wolf control in Oregon was of two undernourished young wolves who must have learned that sheep were easy prey. They kept returning to the sheep and last time jumped two enclosures to get to the sheep. The rancher had been very cooperative in trying to protect his sheep (just the opposite, it turns out, compared to those who lost all the rams near Dillon).
Did I say “have reached this conclusion?” I thought I said “suggests”. Oh wait I did. You might try Predatory Bureaucracy and Wellfare Ranching, the Subsidised Destruction of the American West to start with. It would be an absolute dereliction of duties for IDFG not to even consider this possibility.
You state the following: The metastudy “A quantitative summary of attitudes toward wolves and their reintroduction (1972–2000) ” did not find that support for wolves was greater in areas where hunting was allowed- in fact, the opposite was true.
I just read the study, done by U of Wisc. researchers. I could not find a conclusion or any text which states your conclusion as stated above. Perhaps you would be kind enough to point out the exact location of this conclusion, as I may have missed it.
I do, however, post some conclusory remarks from the study.
“Paradoxically, it appears to us that successful
wolf reintroduction and restoration will itself
reduce the general positive attitudes toward
wolves. There is some reason to expect that attitudes
in the areas where wolves are returning may
possibly become more negative as people gain
experience and interact with wolves. Surveys in
1976 in Sweden (Andersson et al. 1977) showed
more support for wolves among hunters than in a
recent 2001 study (G. Ericsson, Swedish University
of Agricultural Sciences, and T. A. Heberlein, University
of Wisconsin, personal communication). In
1977 there were no wolves in Sweden, and it was
expected that if they were restored, they would be
restricted to the tundra areas in the far north.
However, in 2001 wolves had moved into southern
(Värmland) as well as central Sweden and attacked
hunters’ dogs and killed livestock. In May of 2001,
a wolf was sighted in downtown Stockholm. This
direct experience gives the public a more balanced
picture of wolves and the risks they pose to human
activities (e.g., hunting, farming, and even strolling
in city parks). In Sweden, general public and even
hunter attitudes toward wolves and their right to
exist are still positive, but not as positive as they
were more than 20 years ago.”
I also wish to point out the data cover only through 2000. Are you aware if there has been an update to the study by these authors or others? Alot can happen in 9 years, especially where wolves are reintroduced. Certainly, the authors advocate for continued research, which is good.
Reading carefully, a general conclusion above states “as people gain experience and interact with wolves the attitudes become more negative.” VERY INTERSTING CONCLUSION, and not inconsistent with common sense.
I agree with your statement, and it certainly makes sense. An equally compelling hypothesis is “A predator will choose the easiest prey, which requires it to expend the least energy and risk of harm to itself.”
And this is why adult wolves, which have not learned to fear man or introduced prey (sheep/cattle) have been considered problem wolves and lethally removed. Whether those pack members/individuals which remain consistently learn from this harsh negative reinforcement and pass it along to the growing population is still an open question.
There are going to be a lof of “ifs”. Obviously if that happens and it becomes a problem then I am sure that they will address it. There are literally thousands of scenarios that we could address with the wolf hunt. Like Ralph has mentioned the hunt is a test to see how the wolf populations will adjust.
Wolf killer harrassed.
That is just as bad as the guys that run around saying they are going to practice SSS, it sounds like things are going to a lot worse before they ever get better, I just hope no one gets injured or killed over this
Wilderness Muse: “You are way over-analyzing the administrative allocation of these modest wolf harvest numbers…”
–I disagree. I think the driving motivations of IDF&G, its commissioners, and its legislative body are at the very heart of the issue of wolf management, and I think IDF&G’s actions are telling.
From the very beginning of this conversation, which started a few weeks ago on another thread, I have maintained that IDF&G does not have the credibility with, or trust of, non-consumptive stakeholders. There are multiple reasons why this is true, but as I have explained, they revolve around the perception that the agency is “captured” by the interest of hunters and livestock producers (more on this in a second).
WM: “May I suggest you, and other interested readers, download the 2008 Idaho Wolf Report and actually read it, look at the maps,…”
–Thank you, I am quite familiar with the plan. In fact, I’d like to draw your attention to the survey of Idaho residents in the back of the report. In particular, take a look at responses to the item “The best wolf management strategy is to reduce wolf populations to the minimum pack numbers necessary to keep them off the Endangered Species List” on page 55. You will note that 86% of livestock producers and 77% of hunters agreed with this item. Now flip ahead a few pages and take a look at responses to the item, “I’m glad that wolves were reintroduced into Idaho.” You’ll note that 74% of hunters and 82% of livestock producers disagreed with that statement. Finally flip to the section on values (p. 60). Here IDF&G asked respondents to compare the value they place in wolves to the value placed in other species. You’ll notice that the majority of hunters and livestock producers indicated that wolves were less valuable than ANY of the other 8 species they were compared against, including coyotes.
What is interesting about these results isn’t that most Idaho livestock producers and hunters place little value in wolves and want them “managed” back to the minimum number required to keep them from being relisted; rather, what interests me are the groups of people that IDF&G chose to sample, hunters and livestock producers (i.e. the two interest groups that pull the political strings where public lands management is concerned).
WM: “Furthermore, JB, it seems your logical constructs take Mark’s comments out of context and then twist them to your own apparent predetermined desired end. Aristotle, the father of formal logic would roll over in his grave at your liberties with the discipline.”
–Ouch. Let me stress, that was not my intent. Perhaps if you could give me an example of where I’ve “twisted” Mark’s comments to meet my desired end I might be able to better defend what I’ve written?
Mark noted above that, “[IDF&G] manage[s] wolf numbers to achieve a variety of biological and social objectives.” I can’t argue with that. What I am trying to understand is (a) what are those objectives, and (b) if these objectives are social in nature, what group of people are wolves being managed for?
Based upon the (a) the recent legislative activity in Idaho, (b) the remarks of the governor, (c) the sociodemographic makeup of the F&G Commission and IDF&G decision-makers, (d) the methods and results of IDF&G’s social survey, (e) the mission statement of the agency, (f) the agency’s reliance upon hunters for funding, (g) the fact that wolves will be killed in every management unit in direct opposition to the desires of non-consumptive users, I can only conclude that IDF&G decisions are biased in favor of hunters and livestock producers.
As further evidence for this conclusion, let me point out what Mark said about the management of wolves in the Southeast Region. Note, so as not to be accused of “twisting” his words, here’s what he said verbatim:
“The reality is that the Southeast Region, and most of southern Idaho is not suitable habitat for wolves BECAUSE of the certainty of persistent, serious conflicts with livestock and other private property resources.”
Regarding the valuation of wolves as a “keystone” species by IF@G, I wonder whether agent Gamblin shares the perspective and similar understanding of conservation science of the outgoing wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho. On April 3rd, said coordinator actually told me that “worms and mice have just as much (trophic cascade) impact on the ecosystem as wolves.”
catbestland claims “There is enough research that suggests that if you remove the leaders of a pack the subordinates and/or pups will target easier prey such as livestock.” someone else asked for catbestland’s sources and the response was:
“Other than that do your own research. It is common knowledge that packs without leadership will target easy prey. This is wolf biology 101…”
catbestland repeatedly accuses Mark of not answering the question when in reality he had answered it in another thread. Catbestland, I would like you to please answer the question of where is the “research.” Ralph suggests that is is probably more of a hypothesis, but you claim there is research.
I gave a quick look at “Predatory Bureaucracy and Welfare Ranching, the Subsidised Destruction of the American West” and did not see anything about the effect of alpha wolf removal and changes in prey selection. I may have missed it though.
See pg. 359 of Predatory Bureacracy re: disintegration of a traumatized Mexican Wolf Pack. Also check out the work of Dr. Paul C. Paquet on the deleterious effects of indiscriminate pack disruption.
A little later on I’ll provide the exact cites for the scientific literature.
jb–thanks for pointing out the antipathy of hunters and livestock producers toward wolves; now the question is, will they do much about it by actually “hunting” wolves? Ranchers will shoot wolves on sight, but how many wolves will they see while driving around in trucks and ATVs? A handul of hunters might go to the trouble of using predator calls to lure in wolves, but most hunters are just going to hunt deer and elk and blast any wolf they happen to see. I can’t imagine many wolves perishing as a result of such lacksidasical efforts.
Even if hunters do spot a wolf, shooting it is another matter. One time I was riding around in a pickup truck with a couple of cowboy types north or Gardiner, MT in Paradise Valley. We spotted a coyote about 100-150 yards away. The boys piled out of the truck and started shooting. The coyote stood still for awhile, then ambled away unharmed. One cowboy looked at the other and said, “That coyote was scairt to move for fear of gettin hit.”
Re: effects of pack disruption/alleged pack resiliency:
G.C. Haber, “Biological Conservation and Ethical Implications of Exploiting and Controlling Wolves, 10 Conservation Biology 1068-81 (1996): “Policy makers developing wolf depredation management strategies should … assess the potential negative impacts of wolf removal on PACK STRUCTURE and persistence, especially in RECOVERING populations.” (my emphasis).
Paul C. Paquet, et al., “Wolf Reintroduction Feasibilty in the Adirondack Park”. Conservation Biology Institute, at 2 (1996) (available at http://www.protectadks.org/issues/wolves/cbi-feasibility-study.pdf): Some still theorize that the naturallyhigh fecundity rate of wolves provides iron clad insurance against steep and indiscriminate human-caused mortality. However, it is important to remember that due to the wolf’s unique ecology, their population density is usually far lower than population densities of any other large carnivores. There are several reasons for this: (1) wolves are easily disturbed or displaced by human activities; (2) social animals are far more susceptible to removal than solitary animals; (3) unlike bears, wolves are active throughout the year; (4) wolves occupy large home ranges, which increases exposure to humans; and (5) wolve often travel long distances, which increases human exposure to humans. Many researchers believe that the response of a species to a particular disturbance depends on ‘disturbance history’. Disturbance history is a critical concept in understanding the behavior of long-lived animals that learn through ‘social transmission’. New disturbances, with background disturbance, may surpass the level of habituation or INNATE BEHAVIORAL PLASTICITY that allows the animal to cope with the disruption.” (my emphasis).
Dr. Marco Musiani, Prof. Marco Musiani’s Profile, U. of Calgary, Canada: “In some instances, wolf packs are so viciously hunted, that packs break apart, thus preventing the pack from retaining older wolves with experience in the wild.
Michael Soule & John Terbough, “Conserving nature at regional and continental scales — a scientific program for North America”, 49 BioScience 809, 810 (1999): “Preservation of pack structure is vital as packs are the essential social and biological units necessary for LONG TERM
Part II: (my emphasis) of wolf populations”.
I appreciate the citations and information. I will try to look them up.
My pleasure. It is vitally important, I think, to be able to marshall our collective intellectual resources to challenge the massive propoganda that wolves, with their remarkable physicality, intelligence, communicability, social complexity, and critical role in the ecosystem, are NOT like Mexican jumping beans in the face of indiscriminate pack shredding– much as the USFWS and IF&G would like us to believe.
In fact, while the USFWS repeatedly touts (in all editions of the last three delisting rules) the alleged Herculean-like “resiliency” of wolves, a close reading of its’ citations (Brainerd, Fuller, and Packard) reveals they are misused — in other words, cherry picked sentences are undercut by the actual context of the connected discussions.
Part II: Meant to say: are “LIKE Mexican jumping beans”. Must be getting tired!
Valerie, your reference to Paquet et al. (1996) was interesting to me because he also cites wolves resiliency:
“The wolf shows high levels of ecological resiliency compared to other large carnivores due to the species ‘ exceptional adaptability and favorable life history traits (Weaver et al. 1996). Wolves demonstrate the ability to alter their own social structure by altering pack structure (Chepko-Sade and Shields 1987), fertility levels, dispersal, and tolerance of other wolves in response to shifts in their own population densities. These social changes are usually precipitated by different levels of mortality within packs and regional prey abundance (Fritts and Mech 1981, Fuller 1989, Boyd et al. 1995, Weaver et al. 1996).”
He goes on to say:
“Unlike other large carnivores, wolves have a high capacity to replace their numbers because they reach sexual maturity at an earlier age, and have large litters. This is one reason why wolves, in comparison to other large carnivores, have been able to withstand high levels of mortality.”
I am going to continue to look at the other citations, especially the Brainard, Fuller, and Packard reference, but Paquet seems to be saying that wolves can withstand some social disruption because of pack mortality.
I appreciate your calling attention to the 2008-2012 Wolf Management Plan, which is the document containing the survey you referenced. This is, of course, a different document than I referenced, which is the 2008 Annual Wolf Report (official cite: Nadeau, M. S., C. Mack, J. Holyan, J. Husseman, M. Lucid, D. Spicer,
B. Thomas. 2009. Wolf conservation and management in Idaho; progress report 2008. Idaho
Department of Fish and Game, 600 South Walnut, Boise, Idaho; Nez Perce Tribe, P.O. Box 365,
Lapwai, Idaho. 106 pp. , containing the more detailed wolf population and distribution data. Both are important sources of information.
The survey questionaire in the “Plan” was sent to three groups, which I note you failed to acknowledge in your post to me, 1,000 each to: Random Idaho residents (reflecting more urban respondents), Random Hunters from database and Random Livestock growers from database. Whether this is a valid study design, I cannot say. Presumably IDGF was advised by its study design contractor, and for sure hunters and livestock owners have the largest direct economic and political stakes in any adopted management plan.
The fact that non-consumptive users are marginalized is disappointing, but certainly not unexpected. Recall, that IDGF makes administrative policy and manages programs at the will of duly elected officials of the state – a governor and the legislature. Commissioners are appointed by the governor, and approved by the Senate. That is the way democracy works at the state and national level. Economic interests, lobbying pressures, and even party politics all factor in. You should not be surprised that livestock and hunting interests are dominant.
I do want to add, hunting is not just a hunter in the woods with a license/tag purchased from the state. Resident and non-resident hunters both contribute. Motels, eating establishments, gas stations, meat processors, sporting goods stores and other businesses generate substantial revenues from hunters, as do outfitters, and these businesses are often in small communities spread throughout the state. Livestock growing provides jobs, and of course there is the multiplier effect of dollars spent in the economy.
Again, I think your over-analysis, while a commendable effort, leaves you not being able to see the forest for the trees. It is as simple as I first said. ID wants to manage for a minimal number of wolves to satisfy ESA requirements. Politicians and administrators can waltz around that bottom line all they want, but that is the mission statement.
Thanks for the Haber (1996) citation. I am in the process of reading it right now. It brings up many interesting points about the ethics of hunting social animals. It will be very interesting to see if Haber’s theorized results of wolf exploitation will come to pass.
Haber is backed up by Dr. Marco Musiani, Dr. Fred Allendorf (“Genetics and the persistance of small populations, in Genetic aspects of viability in small wolf populations” (Report from an internationational expert workshop at Farna Herrgard, Sweden !st – 3rd May 2002): (in part): “the worst thing that can be done genetically is take out an entire pack”; “Wolves in the Crosshairs: A Scientific Case Against the Final Rule of the USFWS Removing Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolves from the Endangered Species List, in West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2009) where Dr. Kenneth Fischman opines: “the point here, which cannot be emphasized too strongly, is that the tight-knit social structure of a wolf pack makes it imperative that it remain as intact as possible, so that the young can benefit from the responses and anticipation of more experienced members of the pack. Indiscriminate killing of pack members could make the young much more vulnerable and their behavior more unpredictable”; Dr. Bridget VonHoldt, et al., “The genealogy and genetic variability of reintroducted Yellowstone grey wolves”, 17 Molecular Ecology 1, 17 (2007): “[p]opulation management should include efforts to ensure that the SOCIAL DYNAMICS FUNCTION remain unhindered, thus promoting the diversity of behaviors that allow for inbreeding avoidance and pack formation as found in the Yellowstone population”. (my emphasis).
Mark, has Idaho Fish and Game been actively “promoting” wolves as a game animal? Do publications clearly state the status of wolves as a big game animal in the state? Does the web site make this crystal clear? While I believe that wolves have that status in Idaho, what is written and practiced are two very different things.
“The fact that non-consumptive users are marginalized is disappointing, but certainly not unexpected….Again, I think your over-analysis, while a commendable effort, leaves you not being able to see the forest for the trees. It is as simple as I first said. ID wants to manage for a minimal number of wolves to satisfy ESA requirements.”
WM: Actually, that was my point!! I should have premised my response to your comments with a bit more background: This conversation has been going on for a while now, across several threads. Essentially, Mark has maintained that IDF&G and its commission manage wolves for ALL of Idaho’s citizens. I pointed out that there appeared to be nothing in the plan that catered to the interests of non-consumptive users and this was likely the result of bias, largely due to the fact that most IDF&G decision makers and the F&G Commission are almost entirely composed of hunters. I thought this was obvious (as Dave Smith’s sarcastic comment suggests), but Mark has maintained that IDF&G’s approach is representative. My subsequent comments have been geared at challenging this notion. If Mark would’ve come out and said, “we are managing wolves for hunters and hunters want them blasted back to the minimum.” I would have said, “Thanks; glad we cleared that up.”
Look, I’ve been engaged in this discussion for quite some time, and it has taken more of my time than I intended (I’m sure Mark would say the same). I’ve gotten caught up in debating the representativeness of IDF&G’s approach and, in this respect, I HAVE lost sight of the forest. I have a more important point to make, but it will have to wait as I’m burned out at the moment. Be assured, there is method in my apparent madness.
I am having a hard time balancing the ideas that these papers suggest about the affects of hunting wolves on pack social and genetic structure with the idea that wolves are going to die naturally from many different factors and there is instability within the packs. Haber (1996) even points out in his paper
“Even under natural conditions there is significant disruption of family groups, new group formation, and much dispersal usually ending in mortality (Haber 1977; Mech 1977).
It was also pointed out that Dr. Marco Musiani, and Dr. Fred Allendorf found “the worst thing that can be done genetically is take out an entire pack.” However, Haber points out that in stable eusocial animals like wolves, there is “intense inbreeding” and disruption of packs actually results in more genetic diversity within a pack. Obviously if an entire pack is taken out there is not going to be any genetic diversity from that pack, but I don’t think that is a very likely result from a regulated hunt. (hopefully).
I will be doing some more reading over the next few days.
If taking out the alpha male and or Alpha female wolf in a pack has a profound effect on the actions of the pack, what about the taking of the lead ram in a Big Horn Sheep herd?Is the same knowlegde and structure in the pack/herd lost there as well? Lead bull elk? There is a lot of knowledge inside both a pack and herd as to what time to feed where, how to hunt and where to hunt, when to move out of the den, where to go at certian times of the year. ect. So far 2 wolves have been taken. IDFG says 11,000 tags have been sold. Pretty bad odds…….for the wolves.
Please do not misconstrue my words. The rest of my paragraph is…… Recall, that IDGF makes administrative policy and manages programs at the will of duly elected officials of the state – a governor and the legislature. Commissioners are appointed by the governor….. That is the way democracy works at the state and national level. Economic interests, lobbying pressures, and even party politics all factor in. You should not be surprised that livestock and hunting interests are dominant.”
The key words here are “duly elected officials of the state.” Elected officials make policy for all their citizens, and appoint staff directors and commission members to carry out policy and directives set forth in the statutes that create the agencies and give them their powers. The fact that you do not like the policy, does not mean that it is not being made for all the citizens. That, I suspect, is the context of Mark’s statements. although he should speak for himself.
In the survey you spoke about, a majority of random nonhunters believed it was acceptable or highly acceptable to allow hunters to hunt a harvestable surplus of wolves, destroy wolves that are causing problems with domestic livestock, and used trained professionals to reduce the number of wolves.
The survey also found that the majority of these random nonconsumptive respondants to the survey either agreed or strongly agreed with the statements: I would support wolves in Idaho more if I knew the population was being managed to create a balance between predators and prey; I would support wolves in Idaho more if I knew the population was being managed to control livestock conflicts; If wolves are causing a population of elk or deer to decline below acceptable levels wolf hunting should be allowed in order to increase deer and elk populations; Steps should be taken to manage the size of wolf populations; I support de-listing wolves as long as there are appropriate regulations and plans in place that protect the in the Northern Rocky Mountains; I support de-listing wolves and giving management authority to the state of Idaho.
I found the results of this survey interesting not because of the results of the hunters and livestock respondents, which were obvious, but because of the results of the non- consumptive respondents. JB, though the IDFG may not be representative of your (a non Idahoan) or several of the people that post on this websites views, it appears that they are trying to represent the majority of Idahoan.
I am afraid I will be called a “local supremecist” now 🙂
[sigh] It is extremely inefficient to communicate in this manner.
WM: I understand the legal context and the responsibilities of IDF&G and their elected officials. I also understand that they are not responsible for ensuring that their wildlife management policies are palatable to every citizen.
Recall that Idaho’s authority to manage wildlife comes from case law; Idaho manages wildlife under the so-called “public trust doctrine”, which essentially makes the state of Idaho the trustee responsible for managing wildlife for the state’s residents.
Recall also that more than 50% of the state of Idaho is actually federal land, managed mostly by the Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management. These lands belong equally to all Americans.
The federal agencies in charge of these lands are required (by law) to incorporate public involvement, and the “public” is not limited to Idaho residents. For example, FLPMA states: “..the Secretary [is] required to establish comprehensive rules and regulations after considering the views of the general public…”
Idaho’s objectives with respect to wolf management may indeed be in line with the citizens of that state (well, with hunters and livestock producers anyway). However, they are out of touch with national opinion on the issue. For the most part, federal agencies have bowed to the states with respect to wildlife management. However, given national opinion about wolves and Idaho’s aggressive stance, I do not believe they will be able to continue to show this kind of deference to the state. In short, I see challenges to the state’s authority to manage wildlife on the horizon.
Since everyone is so fond of Dave Mech, I’ll quote him in response to your post:
“If major carnivore management decisions are determined by public mood rather than by the knowledge of professionals, we could end up with California full of carnivores and North Dakota with none.”
Just substitute Idaho for North Dakota.
My point in citing the Idaho survey was not to show that Idaho’s management is not representative of Idaho’s residents, but to show that it is not at all in line with the views of the majority of Americans, the purpose of the ESA, or the 2009 Final Rule.
FYI: 65% of hunters disagreed with the statement, “I support wolf recovery and a sustaining a viable wolf population in Idaho.” IDF&G did not ask any other stakeholders to respond to this item.
“If major carnivore management decisions are determined by public mood rather than by the knowledge of professionals, we could end up with California full of carnivores and North Dakota with none.”
If taken exactly as written, this is, of course, true. The problem with statements such as these is that they are often used as a justification for hunting.
Let’s say that conclusive studies showed that wolves *could* be hunted without causing irreparable damage to the species. That, in and of itself, does not mean that wolves *should* be hunted. Basic Kantian philosophy here; “can” does not imply “ought.”
I am aware of no research that mandates wolf control for the health of the species or of the environment as a whole. Therefore, the decision to hunt wolves is not a scientific one; it’s an ethical choice. Choosing *not* to hunt wolves would be as scientifically valid as choosing to hunt them.
With this in mind, we come back to what I see as the root of the problem- wildlife management decisions being made not for the benefit of the ecosystem, nor for *all* citizens of a state, but for hunters and livestock owners. In such a system, the vast majority of citizens who feel disenfranchised have no recourse but the ballot box.
This is, of course, not an ideal situation. But, until the grand day comes (if it ever does!) where state game agencies are restructured from the top down to have ecosystem welfare as their primary priority, it will continue.
JB, I agree that this is pretty frustrating. Will you be in your office tomorrow? I may give you a call. I will admit that you are much more informed about wildlife policy issues then I am but I am pretty interested in discussing this with you more and more then anything catching up with you a little bit. I think too often, the discussion when typed comes across as more hostile then it really is, or it sounds like people are playing “gotcha.” Hopefully I can talk to you tomorrow morning.
I am not sure where you were headed with your last comment about “public participation.” However, rest assured the original 1994 EIS for Wolf Reintroduction received considerable scrutiny from scoping, to the draft and final EIS, including the various federal interests. The emphasis, however, was rightly focused on just how much difficulty will these wolves be to manage as they consume elk and livestock when the population increases and the range expands? That was the big selling point to the states, giving them the right to manage. Read the EIS and the focus will become crystal clear, as will the extensive public participation – local and national.
In addition, the entire process undertaken by USFWS and its partner states has been highly transparent both in the NRM and Great Lakes, including public input in various federal rule-makings implementing the individual state plans and delisting, as you well know. Wolf advocate stakeholders (equate with non-consumptive users) have been present and extremely vocal all along the way. That wolf advocate input has not been heeded, is not unusual for federal agencies. My experience over many years in dealing with federal resource agencies, suggests they do what they want to do, and the public be damned.
Moving the federal government into a more active role in wildlife management is ….well …..a highly unlikely notion. I know of no state willing to give up that right, and if there is an issue sure to galvanize all states in a knock down drag out battle it would be in the state – federal relationships involving wildlife management. From Maine to Florida and Washington to California to Texas to Michigan, and the already contentions West, the deep South there is little trust of federal involvement in this area, even if restricted to federal lands. You are having a pipe dream JB.
I am curious, however, to see how Colorado, Utah, Washington and Oregon would weigh in on a national wolf management plan, of sorts. The distasteful, to some, issue in all of this is that wolf numbers will have to be controlled – by whom, how many, and which ones (the behavioral and genetic topic Valerie, Cat and Rick are currently exploring) is perplexing.
I think that having the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service provides a balance to wildlife actions that states may take to ensure that states aren’t doing irreparable harm to a resource that belongs to the public in general. However, I think it is a good thing that there is local state control to make scientific decisions that hopefully reflect the values of those most impacted by the wildlife that they are managing.
Wow, I just reread what I wrote in my last post and it is very convoluted. Sorry about that. Hopefully everyone will get the idea of what I was trying to say. Ideally,
Federal oversight + local management = representative, scientific management.
“Moving the federal government into a more active role in wildlife management is ….well …..a highly unlikely notion. I know of no state willing to give up that right, and… there is little trust of federal involvement in this area, even if restricted to federal lands. You are having a pipe dream JB.”
WM: The 1994 EIS is essentially meaningless. FYI: I think you underestimate how contentious all of this will be at the national level (the most recent proposed rules to delist elicited 540,000 comments). The Federal government has “usurped” the states authority using the commerce clause, property clause, and federal treaty-making power. The most likely avenue is the property clause. Please recall the willingness of people from CA to FL to weigh in on the debate about the aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska and the federal government’s willingness to get involved (http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/1176714.html?storylink=mirelated).
– – – –
Rick, I’m working from home today. Send me an email and I’ll give you a call. It would be good to catch up.
Meaningless though you believe it is, the 1994 EIS satisfied NEPA sufficiently 15 years ago to allow the reintroduction to go forward. I am not aware of a successful legal challenge, but have not looked into that. And, all it did was set into motion the specific act of reintroduction, the individual state planning process, and FWS rule-making. Again, this whole effort has been narrowly focused to meet the ESA requirements (vague as set forth in the document according to some critics, and yet more concrete to others). And that has been the USFWS mission, even to the exclusion of addressing economic impacts (both positive and negative), although the negative impacts come in thru the back door with the protection of private property.
Equating a legislative proposal (hundreds/thousands are drafted each year) by a couple of CA Congress persons is nowhere equivalent to passing of a law. I am not sure where the proposal is going, but hardly a strong endorsement of a “federal government’s willingness to get involved” at this point. The legislative process is alot more complex than that; passing laws which take powers away from states and their citizens is usually like pushing a rock uphill. Is the issue ripe? Undoubtedly so. Sarah Palin is the best friend wildlife advocates could have. She is (was?) such a divisive, niave and even abrasive personality.
As for the 540,000 comments on the recent wolf delisting rule, equating citizen action in the form of filling out a canned DOW or Sierra Club postcard or a quick electronic comment and sending it in is a far cry from passing laws encroaching on states rights. Each counted as a separate comment I am told, and USFWS addressed the popularity contest aspect in the preface to the delisting rule, if I recall correctly. Many of those canned “comments,” of course, were devoid of the requested substantiive comment on the proposed rule.
JB and Rick,
It is apparant you are acquainted and in the same location, and highly knowedgeable on the issues. Would you feel comfortable telling your backgrounds and where you are? Grad. School possibly? It would be nice to know.
JB and I actually went to the same university and had a few classes together. I actually realized who JB was when he referenced, in one of these posts, a paper he had written and I looked it up. As far as my background, I got my bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife biology, a minor in biology, and an emphasis in wildlife damage management. My master’s degree is in ecology. I have mentioned in post awhile ago that I have done many things that are often discussed on this website including: grazed cattle on public lands, chased mtn. lions with hounds, to put radio collars on them no less, trapped, and hunted. However, I feel I have a pretty open mind and I really enjoy the some of the discourse that goes on here. I will say that I certainly don’t agree with everything that is said here, just as I’m sure that nobody agrees with everything that I say. But, I find that when I read things that I disagree with it makes me do a little research to find out why I disagree or if I am in the wrong. These conversations have helped me become better educated on many of these topics which was my original point in starting to read this blog.
RE: your comments: “Idaho’s objectives with respect to wolf management may indeed be in line with the citizens of that state (well, with hunters and livestock producers anyway). However, they are out of touch with national opinion on the issue. For the most part, federal agencies have bowed to the states with respect to wildlife management. However, given national opinion about wolves and Idaho’s aggressive stance, I do not believe they will be able to continue to show this kind of deference to the state. In short, I see challenges to the state’s authority to manage wildlife on the horizon”.
I agree. Let me add I also foresee national legislation in the order of something iike a “National Predator Conservation Act” or “National Wolf Preservation Act”. Wolves are national treasures and Idaho’s politically motivated, reductionist stance will inevitably catch up with wildlife management officials
I agree with JB’s conclusion that “given national opinion about wolves and Idaho’s aggressive stance, I do not believe they will be able to continue to show this kind of deference to the state. In short, I see challenges to the state’s authority to manage wildlife on the horizon”.
Let me add I also foresee national legislation in the order of something iike a “National Predator Conservation Act” or “National Wolf Preservation Act”. Wolves are national treasures and Idaho’s politically motivated, reductionist stance will inevitably catch up with wildlife management officials
“On April 3rd, said coordinator actually told me that “worms and mice have just as much (trophic cascade) impact on the ecosystem as wolves.”
I would actually say that they have more impact than wolves. Mice are near the bottom of the food chain and support a plethora of species above them. In addition when they bury seeds it helps to cultivate new plants. The forests would be fine without wolves in relative comparision to the impacts earth worms have.
“Without doubt, earthworms are the most important soil invertebrates in most soils worldwide, in terms of both biomass and activity. Several species are even considered to be ecosystem engineers. Earthworms are also known to influence soil structure, soil chemistry, and, in particular, processes like organic matter decomposition.”
I absolutely love that idea Valerie!
The guy that killed the first wolf has had to ask for police watch at his home and business thanks to anti wolf hunters. Threats and bad behavior show the mentality of some. I think the guy should be left alone he didnt break any law.
Bambi, I agree, a person who didn’t break the law should not be harassed. Protesting peacefully and publicly in places like courthouses, Fish and Game offices, etc. is fine and a right, but not at people’s houses. This will give that group a black eye.
I agree as well, but I really wonder how much truth there is to that? ( re: pro wolfer’s behavior.) Just because he says it is happening in droves doesn’t mean it is. There are many threats and bad behavior on the wolf hunter’s part toward pro wolfers that I have seen on newspaper blogs and on this blog as well.
I would guess that Ralph receives 50 times the negative e-mail in one month from anti’s that this guy will ever get in his whole lifetime from the pro’s.
Gline, there have been so many exaggeration and outright lies with this issue that it is hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.
The fella doesn’t know why they are mad?
Maybe his behaviour and quotes have something to do with it.
Anger is quick and blind. Not that I agree with what this person did or his motivations for doing so.
What I have indicated might happen (though rare), is not nearly as rare as you’ve suggested, and the Supreme Court has been crystal clear in decisions that pit state vs. federal authority with respect to public lands management.
Check out the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (it protected these unbranded horses and burros on public lands); tThe same could be done for wolves. You might also note that when this act was challenged (see Kleppe v. New Mexico, 1976), the Supreme Court held that the “power over the public land thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations.”
There are other routes to increased federal involvement, that do not require legislative intervention (namely through federal agencies’ mandatory planning processes, which require broad public involvement). However, I would agree that this would a less likely avenue for any meaningful change.
I bring this up not because I wish to see the State’s authority usurped, but because I wish to see Idaho act responsibly before it loses its authority. Claims that wolves “need” to be “managed” (i.e. hunted) in every management unit are B.S. and everyone knows it. Minnesota provides a great counter to the claim that unmanaged wolves will eat Idaho out of house and home. Wolf populations have been stable (at around 3,000) in MN for several years, despite a near endless supply of WT deer. Wolves have also been unmanaged on Isle Royal, where in 6 decades they have failed to decimate the moose population.
As I said from the very beginning, this hunt is about IDF&G bowing to pressure from Idaho’s two most powerful stakeholder groups: hunters and livestock producers.
P.S. Who will be the first to tell me that Idaho is nothing like Minnesota or Isle Royal (and miss the point entirely)?
Wolf populations have been stable (at around 3,000) in MN for several years, despite a near endless supply of WT deer. Wolves have also been unmanaged on Isle Royal, where in 6 decades they have failed to decimate the moose population.
Amazing nobody notices these trends. Just like how they don’t notice that any drive through these states will reveal plenty of road-killed deer. JB, you are right, saying that Idaho and Minnesota and Isle Royale are different makes no sense. The hunting argument doesn’t hold water.
From the Wisconsin DNR site: A few hunters continue to kill wolves, believing that such actions will help the deer herd. It is important to place in perspective the impact of wolves feeding on deer. Each wolf kills about 18 deer per year. Multiply this by the number of wolves found in Wisconsin in recent years (330), and approximately 5940 deer may be consumed by wolves annually. This appears as a fairly low when compared to over 40,000 deer hit by cars each year, and about 450,000 deer shot annually by hunters.
Can somebody explain why Wisconsin gets this but Idaho doesn’t?
“Can somebody explain why Wisconsin gets this but Idaho doesn’t?”
Because eating all that cheese and drinking all that beer make you smarter!
40,000 deer were killed by cars!? Applying IDF&G’s logic, this drastic reduction in deer must be negatively impacting hunting opportunity, which is assuredly costing the WIDNR a significant amount of money. There is only one possible solution: Wisconsin is in desperate “need” of a season on automobiles to help “manage” their populations. I can see the signage now, “Kill a car, get a free pitcher of beer and block of cheese.”