Open thread. Discuss what you want
I don’t know if we can have a productive open thread during the wolf hunt, but folks often like open discussion threads, so let’s see. I know emotions are high right now about wolf hunting, but a reasoned comment is more effective than a burst of emotion.
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
181 Responses to Open thread. Discuss what you want
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Can you truly be an environmentalist and own two homes?
Only if they’re made out of hemp, or straw, or mud-adobe.
Can you truly be a conservationist and eat meat?
Ask the wolves–they seem to do pretty well at it.
statistics are like a bikini;
what they reveal is suggestive;
but what they conceal is vital
How about making Island Park, Idaho a National Monument? There was some discussion of this a few months ago. I believe the Statesman (some news organization) took a poll of Idahoans and asked if a new National Monument was created in Idaho, where should it be? The top choice, by far, was Mesa Falls that is located in Island Park. But Island Park has several unique and interesting features. It has Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. It has three First Order Magnitude Springs (Big Springs, Buffalo River Springs, Warm River Springs). It also contains the Island Park Caldera and the Henry’s Fork Caldera that is nested inside. Of the various Yellowstone calderas, the Henry’s Fork Caldera is the only one that is plainly visible with a diameter of over 20 miles. Island Park has increased precipitation due to the SNR-Yellowstone moisture channel. Parts receive up to 80 inches, 16 times that of nearby areas. The flat-bottomed caldera and increased precipitation creates many meandering river, streams, marshes, and meadows and provides for an abundance of riparian habitat. Island Park is famous for its moose, beavers, otters, swans, geese, cranes, weasels, and minks in addition to the gambit of other wildlife found elsewhere in Idaho. It is great fishing. It is famous for its flowers. Island Park has several large open areas including Harriman State Park, Chick Creek Flats, and Henry’s Lake flats. If these areas were restored to natural habitat, they would be covered with buffalo, elk, dear, grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. They would be better wildlife viewing areas that the Lamar or Hayden Valleys in Yellowstone Park.
Bob Jackson’s anthropological expedition to the Artic in 1932…
Pointswest, good idea on the Island Park NM. But what are you doing to make this proposal come to fruition, other than preaching to the choir on this website?
I’ve found the conservation movement is full of comments like “we should do this or that” with little to no action to follow up by the commenter.
Ralph, I live in Montana and value this site greatly. By having so much here it was like one stop information for me. What happened th the Pantom Hill Thread you use to have? Will it be back soon? Thanks for what you do, Marc
I ended the thread because it had degenerated (got too far off topic). Threads just do that.
I don’t have plans for another Phantom Hill pack thread, but since it is a socially important wolf pack, when someone shoots one them it is news almost by definition.
Of course, this is an open thread and folks can talk about what ever they want.
What ever we want to talk about- how about Obama’s Nobel peace prize. I don’t believe he has done anything to warrant being awarded that. Oh and as far as a national park here in Idaho, I would love that, I can’t believe the powers that be have not recognized that amount of money that places like yellowstone bring in. After all IDFG did waffle on the wildlife viewing areas as mentioned in their wolf plan.
Is Idaho ever going to change its politics and become at least a purple state? Will it depend on the gradual demographic change similar to what happened in Colorado? Or is there no hope of that happening?
What’s up with the Obama folks thinking about challenging Malloy’s re-listing of the grizzly? Makes no sense.
I too was surprised at the Nobel peace prize even given his extraordinary efforts to heal the 8 years of BS the Bushies caused in international relations. And so was he. And yet there is the Fox crowd, screaming, like he campaigned for the award. NOTHING this president does will ever be right with the Repubs, and it just makes them look more and more extreme and desperate.
Is there a difference between being a conservationist vs. an environmentalist?
I like your sense of humor. The only difference I’d see in the eskimo “photo” would be I’d be taking care of Nantook’s harpoon first. We use to have a copy of a well known painting in Thorofare. It showed a knight in shining armor holding a damsel on a sofa…with her whimp of a “husband” in all his old style upper crust surroundings looking on passively in the back ground.
I’d say get rid of the word “environmentalist.” It isn’t sexy. It doesn’t describe what “environmentalists” think. They didn’t come up with the term. It was assigned to them by some newspaper reporter back in the 60s, I guess.
Is anyone interested in discussing the validity of mass collaring of wildlife in the first place? (full disclusure: I am a wildlife biologist by degree and initial post-college employment. Unfortunately, do to primarilly economic reasons I do not currently work as a wildlife biologist.)
That being said, I find this current version of wildlife biology being practiced to be more agriculture than biology. Are these wildlife really wild when we tranquilize them from , take blood, tag their ears, put collars around their necks, and turn them into “subjects” ?
This spring when it was raining, I could see the hair worn off the neck of the cow elk with their collars. Surely this is hard on them to separate the hair and allow the rain to get straight to their skin. I think the wolves with collars look like someone’s dog, and I think we should ABSOLUTELY NOT be landing helicopters in wilderness to collar wolves in some sadistic form of “management”
PS Thanks for the space to rant…
Everyone needs to email the Forest Service by Oct. 14 opposing letting Idaho Fish and Game land in Wilderness to dart and collar wolves.
I don’t care if they want to land and collar elk, skunks, or snakesl. The issue is the same — working in the Wilderness is not supposed to be easy or made easy by modern technology!!!
points west, ever been in the box canyon around June 1? It may be the best birding/wildlife spot in Idaho? Absolutely amazing!
Having spent the better part of autumn in the High Tatra Mountains of Slovakia with the local “Project Medved” (Bear) I felt ready to check out how things are proceeding in the “Wild West”. No, let´s talk about something more positive. Beautiful Slovakia, with this “smallest high alpine region of Europe”, with nice and friendly people everywhere, and the rich capital, Bratislava. Hiking with David Guthrie, his wife Tara and a local Ranger through the core zone of this National Park, that is normally not open for tourism, is one of the best things you can do! Check out how they are doing conservation through soft tourism on their site http://www.stunningslovakia.com
The news media set up an extensive president bashing machine when Bush was in office. . they have never taken it down nor will they as it makes too much money. It is easy to make people hate things like wolves, people of different skin colors, people of other places, things people do. . all because Americans have as a rule gotten so comfortable that they are afraid of a lot of things. Everyday the media tells us something new we should be afraid of from flu to taxes. Hate is based on fear so we cast about for something or someone to hate to ease all that fear. In each of our lives it is the things we hate that have the most lessons for us. I used to hate bears. . . LOL and look where that took me. Now bears are just about my favorite thing!
When it comes down to it, most of us who post on this blog agree about more than we disagree, but thanks to Ralph and his crew (you do have help I hope) this is a great place to learn and debate. It is refreshing to read and consider different view points when no one can get into a yelling match. Thanks
In light of the killing of The Cottowood Pack, I hope there are those who will remember & appreciate the lyrics of this song written by David Mallett & sung by John Denver:
And you say that the battle is over
And you say that the war is all done
Go tell it to those
With the wind in their nose
Who run from the sound of the gun
And write it on the sides
Of the great whaling ships
Or on ice floes where conscience is tossed
With the wind in their eyes
It is they who must die
And it’s we who must measure the loss
And you say that the battle is over
And finally the world is at peace
You mean no one is dying
And mothers don’t weep
Or it’s not in the papers at least
There are those who would deal
In the darkness of life
There are those who would tear down the sun
And most men are ruthless
But some will still weep
When the gifts we were given are gone
Now the blame cannot fall
On the heads of a few
It’s become such a part of the race
It’s eternally tragic
That that which is magic
Be killed at the end of the glorious chase
From young seals to great whales
From waters to wood
They will fall just like weeds in the wind
With fur coats and perfumes
And trophies on walls
What a hell of a race to call men
Has your “maughan2” email address changed?? Could you send me an email msg. and let me know what the new one is — if there is one.
Hi Layton. No email@example.com is right. It is working.. Ralph
JimT, when I was much younger and more idealistic, I thought ID would turn purple. I moved here about a quarter of a century ago, when Frank Church’s memory was still fresh, Andrus was gov., and Larry Echohawk a rising star.
Since then, I have watched as ID appears to be tilting rightward and backwards. The governors have gone from mediocre (Batt) to bad (Kempthorne) to horrendous (Otter).
I attribute that rightward shift to a lot of “white flight” from places like CA. ID’s population is so small that several thousand more Republican votes in scattered precincts makes a big difference. Also, Eastern ID tends to vote in a Republican bloc, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Short answer, no. The state is gerrymandered to dilute the few blue places, such as Boise. I am working more towards grassroots change, rather than expecting political solutions.
For example, since ID is about 67% federally owned, people outside the state can influence what happens here (such as commenting on the likely unlawful Frank Church Wilderness IDFG proposal for helicopter collaring of wolves that Ralph notes above).
Lynne and Bob,
You both wrote about wolf biologists before the Phantom Hill Thread was closed. Who of the wolf biologists have turned tail and left? I know some of these wolf biologists and do not know of any who aren’t fighting for what is best for the species in the long run. Just curious to hear more about this.
I believe only the President can designate a National Monument, so bring it to the prez, Pointswest. However he seems to be a bit busy right now. Sounds like a wonderful place.
Some people won’t like this, but Idaho is stuck in an awful downward spiral.
When children move to Utah, even rural Utah, teachers remark on how far behind they are even by by 2nd grade.
The governor is dismantling education. Most young Idahoans have no economic opportunity unless they are born to some money. Idaho is truly like Mississippi is, or was — Mississippi with no Black people. A tiny unrepresentative elite rules. I am serious when I talk about a landed nobility ruling the place.
Even if you elect a rare Democrat, he is just a worthless tool — Walt Minnick — a rich, former timberman with no knowledge of the hard economics most Idahoans live in. There is no alternative political tradition in Idaho beyond cowboy/conservatism. Those who are dissatisfied have only conspiracy theories for guidance.
I grew up in part in Rexburg (eastern Idaho) where the children now want to kill our President. It was a good place then. Idaho economics and culture have become a dismal place.
About the Phantom Hill thread, I just mean I closed it to further comments.
Ralph, what terms would you advise being used? Conservationist, Preservationist, Consensualist..:*)…There are so many nuances to all of our views, but we all generally want a healthier ecosystem around us, and one that is protected from negative impacts.
Even just that statement would require pages of exploration. Tis a conundrum…
Sorry to hear such views about Idaho, but you folks would know best…such a beautiful state…and i am afraid it will eventually all go to naught there from a wild places, parks, viewpoint.
SNOW in Boulder this morning..2 inches, and high is 20s. A little early for us…especially given recent winters here.
I use “conservationist.” I know it has an ambiguous history, but there are so few people who know any conservation history, I figure it doesn’t matter.
How about “environmental realist”? Not very sexy, but it’s accurate. Anti-environmentalist often attack us because they claim we “lack common sense” or are “unrealistic.” But they’ve got things backward.
In a different vein, re: the wolf hunts, I ran across this quote from the Austrian director Michael Haneke: “You can show all the shortcomings of a society through its children, because they are always on the bottom rung. So are animals. They are those who can’t defend themselves. They are predestined victims.” I don’t buy predestination, but the rest is true. Come to think of it, this is also pertinent to the crummy state of Idaho’s schools.
Ralph, those same statements about Idaho are also true of Montana.
Pretty broad statement there Prowolf, would you care to clarify? I lived in Montana for a while, and I can say, I would consider Montana a whole different world than Idaho..
I mean that there are lots of similarities with the education system. Montana has consistently ranked very low in that area. I think the same can be said about the government and the economic situation.
ProWolf in WY
I know they are in part, but Idaho is a Montana where there never was any effective effort to achieve a little equality of opportunity. Working folks in Montana got organized in the 1930s, and on. They were able to win some fairness in working conditions, wages, worker safety, employment benefits. They weren’t left to corporations and big landowners (and lately radio talk show hosts) for their political information.
Montana invests for the future. In Idaho any surplus goes for tax cuts to the rich, many of them not even residents.
Island Park as a National Monument. Good thing but what are you going to tell people who come there to fish, hunt bears with hounds, feed bears and then kill bears of the trees..I remember the mucho guy who shot the black young bear 2 years ago of the tree…because he had a tag…
I will tag him…just kidding about tagging him…
How about the old bison killed by Idaho F&G this late summer right next to the Nature Conservancy.
So…if Island Park would become a national Monument..how about the cows :).
I got an idea: how about expanding yellowstone National Park boundaries? I think, I hear that looooong time ago a senator propesd that in Congress but the idea was killed 80 something years ago…How about this idea being propsed. The buffalo winetring area and wolves teritory could be inlcuded. Island park is only 5 miles acorss the m ountain to yellowstow border…Ralhp? what do you think?
Anyone had some ideas how to expand YSNP?
grrrrrrrrrrr sorry for typoes. Ralph..can we get spell checker on the blog…hehehehe 🙂
Isabelam we discussed Yellowstone expansion on a different blog. I think it would be nice to see the northern range included, if not as part of Yellowstone, at least a wilderness area so that buffalo could winter there. I’m not very familiar with Island Park.
Use Firefox. It has a spell checker as one of its browser features.
Something needs to be done so the area is expanded. Animals need space and there a lof BLM land around used by cows..Island Park is part time home to me. Great place for fishing and only fishing..I would not allow hunting there. ATV and snomobiles are Ok f staying on the trails. I have to admit, that Idaho designed great snowmobile trails there. Not too happy about some of the ATV areas..but..can’t get everything. I would ban hunting in Island Park.
Is much of that area wilderness anywhere near Island Park?
With how populated and over used as the Island Park area has become, I don’t think there is any political feasibility to it becoming a national monument nor an extension of Yellowstone.
For the Island Park area I would primarily like to see cattle taken out, both on the public lands as well as on the private lands of the Henry’s Lake flats area. Without cattle interests, bison and wolves/predators would have a lot less opposition in the area and could expand their populations and range.
The end of multiple use in Island Park with regards to livestock as well as the land buyouts from ranchers would, IMO, be more feasible than turning the entire area into a monument or park. Much of the population in Island Park in the summer time rides OHV’s and from what I’ve gathered, hate having to dodge cows/manure on the trails. The OHV coalitions could play a big role in ending ranching in Island Park…although….it would make for an interesting bed partner wouldn’t it?
Ok, i’ll try and state this again. . . . Ralph, please let it stay. For those of us in Central Idaho, the Boulder White-Clouds issue has been fairly fierce with a number of sides fighting a number of different agendas supporting either full wilderness, 3 wilderness areas, or no wilderness at all, hence leaving it as it is.
Personally, in my opinion, this is the Glacier of Idaho. It truly is. There’s a lot of wildlife in it. Wolf packs, a healthy amount of mountain goats, a fairly sizable population of elk, bears, mulies, occasional wolverines…and some of the greatest mountain scenery in Idaho. I think if there was a prime spot in Idaho (outside of the Yellowstone region) to have a national park/monument of our nothern rockies mountain scenery, this is as good as it gets.
I also think it should be managed like a North Cascades in Washington where i’ts wilderness.
Why a National Park, over just a wilderness area? Well, mostly to have 1 area in Idaho that is hardly heavily used in the first place to be able to be some semblance of a preserve for it’s wild animal species. Without hunting in this area, people would then have one area where they could go and not fear getting shot. Right now, all over central Idaho forget going into the backcountry to do some solitary hiking. Way too many people out there on 4wheelers looking to shoot anything that moves. October is the worst month in this state by far.
Another area that could also have a good designation would be parts of the Pioneer Mountain Range.
I think Devin is right about Island Park.
The area too developed to be a national monument. The best thing that could happen is to phase out all or some of the cattle, but the Nature Conservancy has been very weak kneed about that. TNC bought most of Henry’s Lake Flat, which was good at preventing subdivision of a very scenic area, but the they fenced the Henry’s Fork running through the flat, rather than get rid of the cattle that compete with the deer, elk and pronghorn. So there is a nice small stream corridor, partly recovered from grazing, but then a whole bunch of cattle crowding out native wildlife.
It was to appease the Fremont, Idaho country commission who at that time (the 1980s) was still living in the 1920s. I don’t know if any updating has taken place.
Ohh, and then reintroduce the Grizzly into the area. Under the NPS it has a better chance of surviving and establishing itself than the NFS.
Well, I support Wilderness designation for the Boulder-White Clouds and the Pioneers, but it’s no big deal unless the cattle are eliminated. What kind of Wilderness or national park has cattle grazing above timberline like they do in the Pioneers?
If the cows were gone, the Pioneer/Copper Basin area would be a world class gem, full of wildlife of all kinds, and great fishing too!
Ralph, you are speaking to the choir.. Speaking to the choir. I agree with you completely. Definitely, that would have to play a part in getting both areas established.
I don’t even know what the best approach is at this point to get those cattle out of copper basin, but that basin could be one of the best elk ranges in the state, but with the cattle there…we get the same old same old, where elk get pushed further out of their traditional range. I dont’ see half of these sportsman that complain that they don’t have enough “elk to hunt” even consider this.. I consider that area one of the best gems in Idaho. It would probably take about a decade to recover though, once the cattle are removed. But, I agree. That area is the gem of gems in this state. Pronghorns, mulies, and elk would have a lot of room to graze over those hundred or so stinking land maggots that currently exist there.
Just a note about the Wisconsin wolves. There are hearings going on in the state to try to lengthen the deer hunting season because of the growing deer population. Gee, we have approximately 650 wolves and the deer herds are still flourishing! Makes me wonder about all the people in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming who are complaining about wolves decimating the elk population. I know the west has been going through an ongoing drought and there has been a long one in northern Wisconsin, too. I think the the major difference is the free ranging cattle who over graze the lands where the elk also feed. Don’t have that problem here in Wisconsin. Getting rid of the free ranging cattle would benefit so many things and maybe all the people including hunters would reap the benefits. I know fighting “big cattle” is a tough job especially with such a “fox news like” propaganda machine that supports the cattle barons without regard for the truth. They have directed hatred towards the wolf instead of where the real problem lies. Hey hunters- it’s about time you support the wolves and not the cattle!! maybe someday soon you’ll be able to buy your cow tags!!!
Please note in your observations, the Wisconsin has more deer than OR, WA, ID, MT, WY have deer and elk combined. I will agree with you on the cattle though as limiting their numbers would be a good thing. The biggest overall difference is the Fecundity of the land.
In oregon I hunt in areas that both have cattle and that don’t. The differences in game numbers does not seem that reflect the statement that removing cattle will increase game numbers. Feel free to correct me if you have studies that will back that up. For example, in Hart mountain NWR the numbers of antalope, bighorn sheep, and deer have dropped even though the cattle were removed many years ago.
What I should add is that there were actually more big game animals when there were cows present than now.
Jim from Wisconsin,
“Gee, we have approximately 650 wolves and the deer herds are still flourishing! Makes me wonder about all the people in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming who are complaining about wolves decimating the elk population.”
Just in case you don’t know the difference — whitetails are NOT elk!!
Right now I can’t remember any of the folks I hear talk about the decrease in the elk populations around here (Idaho) even commenting about a decrease in deer populations — maybe in Eastern Idaho with the mulies, maybe even here in Southwest Idaho — but I haven’t heard it.
There’s one red-eyed radical (savelk) that has some pictures of whitetails that supposedly winter killed in areas that aren’t even noted as having whitetails — but not a lot of people even pay much attention to him. (except when they want a horrible example 8))
Elk?? Different deal. Decreased populations, decreased bull/cow ratios, decreased calf numbers, decreased hunting opportunities, etc.
One thing I have heard said over an over on this board is how much money Wolves and wolf watching bring into yellowstone.
But if you look at the NPS reports more people actually visited Yellowstone in the Mid 80’s than now. Is there any facutal evidence that shows people specifically coming to yellowstone to see wolve has increased its revenues/visits, or that people are going to yellowstone anyways and are hoping to see wolves.
I don’t think the number of wolves, the number of deer, or the number of elk have anything to do with each other in the minds of most of the public who think about wildlife.
They have their position and changes in numbers will not change their position on the issue. That’s pretty unfortunate, but I think true.
Layton, my comments were more in relation to the prey in the given areas. Wisconsin has no real elk population so the wolves kill deer. In the west there are more elk and it is the elk hunter that complains about the wolves killing too many elk. An elk is probably harder to kill than a deer. I know Wisconsin wolves are smaller so killing a deer here is similar to a bigger wolf killing an elk. The point is that the wolves are flourishing here and so is it’s main prey animal(the deer). Not so in the west(elk). So I think one must look at other factors and not just blame the wolf. read the comments from hunters on here and read any hunter magazine – whether it is deer or elk – people still blame the wolf. I know there is big outrage from cattle people too – yet they should feel lucky that we have allowed them on our public lands and should be prepared for a few losses just for the privilage of being able to graze there. So Layton, why then is there such a fervor created about going out and shooting as many wolves as possible? Mis-information? Hatred? Ignorance? What?
Jim, as Layton pointed out, whitetails are not elk–they are unbelievably productive, almost to the point they become invasive under good conditions. It has nothing to do with size of the predator/prey, it’s about kill rates and ability of the prey to outproduce the predator. The two systems are not comparable.
Jim, the key is , they can’t go out and kill as many wolves as possible, there are restraints and quota’s in place to regulate the number of wolves killed
And really in looking at the biology behind this, the upper Midwest is a completely different environment than the west..comparing those populations and the western populations is not correct..
Jay – thankyou – point well taken.
Save Bears – I know there are quotas – but if there weren’t any quotas set we’d be talking re-introduction again in a few years!
Save Bears, I am aware of all of the differences! The point was just to be made about the prey of the wolf here flourishing and that not happening out west. It is in no way an apples to apples comparison – but it is interesting to me that even with the wolf flourishing in Wisconsin – their main prey is too. The only difference other than the obvious environments – is the cattle factor. I understand what you and others have said about the reproduction of the white tails etc. But hunters still complain about the wolf reducing the population of deer and I think there is a big misunderstanding.
“White wedding, White wedding, little sister who is the only one?”- Billy Idol. In this case “Who is gerry’s judas, the one wolf biologist, who like all others, professes their love till death doeth part for all wolves, but actually sells out to their lesser self.
I don’t know who Gerry’s Judas was or is, quite frankly (and the word, Frank, is not a hidden clue by the way).
Gerry’s Judas for me is a composite of common failings seen in too many govt. biologist “men” when politics and the need for career advancement becomes paramount in this person. It happens in biologists more than many other professions because they are the ones who got the good grades and had an audience that said they were GREAT. They are the ones who point the finger at themselves and say,” not that great?”
Thus, they spoke to all those supposed adversaries of the wolves, all those outfitter groups, ranchers and hunters, one on one, uno-uno so to speak, and just knew their words of intellect would make these folks see the light…..and repentance would be forthcoming. But in reality it was one little compromise after the other until what they came in believing wasn’t anything like they justified in the end. To me somes rhetoric was vanity and just showed how much they were out of reality.
Of course some weren’t (aren’t) clueless. They knew the score and networked to advance and then jump ship fast.
If you read my phantom post again, Gerry, I was referring to the future. The past is too easy to “predict’ but one sticks his neck out for the future.
As to who fits this discription best, the little sister in white, it can be any of those guys who you think have the best intentions for all wolves. To me it only means you do not know how to pick them out or are so enamored of the chance to rub shoulders you blindly believe the professed words coming out of their mouths.
Yes, some are legit, but then all ruthless dictators, those that killed millions of their own peoples, could say…and actually believed…they were doing what was best for the people (wolves).
One can only hope the “greater they” use what happened as a learning lesson to go at it again with the burning desire and conviction they had in the beginning. Otherwise its a scraggly tail between their wet legs whinning to the next urban refuge job.
There are no virgins, no white dresses in this political cooker called wolf reintroduction. And if you think there are then I suggest camping in Michael jackson’s Park.
“And really in looking at the biology behind this, the upper Midwest is a completely different environment than the west..comparing those populations and the western populations is not correct..”
I agree, but would add that it is also inappropriate to apply this broad brush logic to all parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Wolves and elk respond to local conditions–thus herds are down in a couple of management units, but above objective in many others. Statements like the one that follows are simply incorrect:
“Elk?? Different deal. Decreased populations, decreased bull/cow ratios, decreased calf numbers, decreased hunting opportunities, etc.”
I love wolves And elk-
Right on. I feel the same way about the way we farm our wildlife. I spent part of the day watching a pack of wolves near a kill a mile from Mammoth Hot Springs today. I was too far away to see collars with my binoculars, but I am sure some of them were collared as the wolf watchers and their fearless leader with his yellow car and tracking antenna were nearby. They use the wolf collars to locate wolves for recreational viewing and call it research.
I was outside planting some trees and got away from this thread, but now back, I just wanted to add . . . did someone forget all the the whitetails in northern Idaho and NW Montana?
It is mostly a whitetail economy in many of these areas.
You are asking the question that can’t be answered, there are quotas…
Ralph, according to Montana fish and game the reason for cutting back on anterless deer tags is because of the mild dry springs over the last few years. low fawn recruitment. hunter success has been down too. After last winter here the deer population might slightly be suffering a little more.
I puchased an interesting calendar here in Yellowstone. The title is “Yellowstone Wolves 2010”. I was intrigued by the cover and back. There are twelve wolf photos on the back and one on the front, and none of them gave credit to the photographer. The calendar is published by “Hawksaw.net.” (406) 444-2363. No other information was on the cover or back.
Upon opening the calendar, I found the photos were credited to three photographers: Douglas Smith, Dan Stahler, and Maxx Metz. I recognized Smith’s name (Chief Wolf Researcher for Yellowstone), but not the two others. Using google, I found that Stahler is also a Yellowstone wolf researcher and that Metz is a graduate student working for or with Smith on the wolf project.
Eight of the Yellowstone Wolf Photos in the Calender appear to have been taken from aircraft, probably a helicopter. Two others are photos of wolves at dens(closed to all private photographers) from close range(closer than the park minimum of 100 yds.). No credit was given to the NPS on any of the photos, so I assume the photographers are claiming ownership of the photos.
I googled Hawksaw.net and found it was owned by Christine Smith ( Mrs. Douglas Smith).
It seems that the Yellowstone Wolf Researchers have decided to make some money from the photos they took while studying wolves.
Am I out of line to suggest that this doesn’t appear to be on the up and up?
“Ralph, those same statements about Idaho are also true of Montana.”
I think what has happened to Idaho and Montana is a world wide phenomena. People were pretty united just after WW2, especially in America. Religion took a back seat to the politics of freedom and to science. People were more interested in being “modern” and connected to the larger world.
But the modern world brought new issues with morality and order. We had the advent of “the pill” and the sexual revolution, drugs, and rebellion against established institutions. We had television teaching this new world view and acting as a new moral authority. People felt like their society was descending into moral chaos. I watched a documentary just the other day where a woman spoke of growing up in Cairo. She was educated and worldly and spoke English with an American accent. She said that the women of Cairo in the early sixties wore the same fashions as women in New York, London, or Rome (they showed the confirming video). But today, she said, she is afraid to go into the street without wearing a burka (the veiled gown that covers a woman’s body).
So count yourself lucky you didn’t grow up in the Middle East. It is much worse there.
The changes brought in by television, “the pill,” women’s liberation, and the general upheaval of the late 60’s and 70’s was especially threatening to extremely male dominated societies such as those in the Middle East, the Bible Belt, and the Mormon Belt.
I think the truth is, however, that television, in its goal of selling products to consumers, did exploit people’s weaknesses and has been a detriment to people’s lives. It did/does appeal to the visceral and the first generations brought up on TV have had high divorce rates and poor health. Obesity and diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions.
I believe people in Eastern Idaho to be much more friendly and genuine than people here in California. But the right wing extremism that rose up to combat change, did not understand what it was fighting. They were boxing at shadows, and were, in the end, led by religious fanatics who began to fight for the sake of fighting itself. Bush took us to war against Islamic extremist who were essentially combating the same changes as was the religious right.
But don’t be too hard on people in Idaho, in the Mormon Belt, or in the West. It is a crazy world. They were not completely wrong in their views.
Jim from Wisc.,
“So Layton, why then is there such a fervor created about going out and shooting as many wolves as possible? Mis-information? Hatred? Ignorance? What?”
First of all “as many wolves as possible” is merely an attempt by the alarmists among the “we love wolves” crowd to create an atmosphere where folks that don’t know better think that there is a “slaughter” or “massacre” or some other sort of a mass killing spree going on aimed at Canis Lupus.
That is BS!!!
Idaho has over a thousand wolves that even the WLW crowd have to admit to. Out of that number there is a quota set of 220 – plus some (35?) that the Indian tribes have been given authority to kill.
Sounds to me like a pretty healthy number when the “original” 10j ruling was for 10 breeding pairs (in Idaho) for four consecutive years.
Yes, there is misinformation and hatred ON BOTH SIDES, and ignorance abounds – fed (again) by people on both sides.
Make no mistake, for every “redneck” Idaho dweller that is disparaged here because they are NOT in favor of an uncontrolled wolf population (and just because they happen to live in Idaho), there is another, equally dedicated and just as uninformed person on the other side that would have you think what you evidently believe.
By the way, so far (I haven’t read the latest today) there have been some 32 or 33 wolves killed of that quota. Smart money says the quota will NOT be achieved by hunters.
“Statements like the one that follows are simply incorrect:
“Elk?? Different deal. Decreased populations, decreased bull/cow ratios, decreased calf numbers, decreased hunting opportunities, etc.””
No, I don’t think so. I’ve done it before and I’m not going to spend the time to do it again, but if you bother to read the F&G reports, elk hunting region by region, you will see that they are full of “decreased calf recruitment”, “low bull/cow ratio”, etc. comments from the regional biologists — usually followed by the comment that these things are at least partly caused by “increased wolf populations”.
As for the “decreased hunting opportunities” comment, all you have to do is look at the 2009 hunting regs to see the caps on some units, the decrease in the number of controlled hunts and the BIG decrease in the number of cow permits.
Look it up — I have.
“I’ve found the conservation movement is full of comments like “we should do this or that” with little to no action to follow up by the commenter.”
I found the article about the National Monument. There was a woman who was already promoting it.
Her name is Kathy Steinbach. I was hoping someone here might know her. I think it could be bigger than what she was suggesting. Island Park is about 90% or 95% public land. I think you could work something out with the private land owners. Henry’s lake flats, for example, already has some kind of zoning for being scenic and owners cannot subdivide or build anyway. Most private could probably stay privite or be grandfathered out over the next couple of centuries.
There is a mistake in this article. Cave Falls is inside of Yellowstone, not to the south of it.
While Island Park as a whole can’t be a national monument (my opinion), it is possible that smaller unique features nearlby like Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, the adjacent Warm River and Robinson Creek Canyon, could be.
I just spent 4 days in that general area. The country that wraps itself around the little used SW corner of Yellowstone Park is pretty special.
How many of you have fished the canyon of Robinson Creek?
Much of the area has been logged. It isn’t wilderness, but regeneration is good. I’m not saying I support this, but this might be feasible.
So what you’re telling me is that you are willing to say unequivocally that (a) elk populations, (b) bull/cow rations, (c) calf numbers, and (d) hunting opportunities are down in every management unit throughout the West? I call B.S.
Layton: “Elk?? Different deal. Decreased populations, decreased bull/cow ratios, decreased calf numbers, decreased hunting opportunities, etc….Look it up — I have.”
Okay, Layton. I checked the latest progress report (filed April 2009, Project W-170-R-32, https://research.idfg.idaho.gov/wildlife/Wildlife%20Technical%20Reports/Elk%20PR08.pdf).
The results suggest the picture you paint is simply wrong. As I said, elk populations vary according to conditions by region. You can’t make blanket claims about Elk in Idaho and certainly not elk throughout the west. Below are a few examples taken directly from the report.
Exhibit A. Elk harvest since 2000 (a pretty good proxy measure of opportunity) has been relatively consistent; though down slightly from the peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it is still higher than at any other time since IDF&G began tracking (https://research.idfg.idaho.gov/wildlife/Wildlife%20Technical%20Reports/Elk%20PR08.pdf, p. 2).
Exhibit B. Regional population estimates:
Panhandle: “Results of the survey indicated that cow numbers were slightly below objectives for
the zone and bull numbers exceed objectives. (p. 5).
Palouse: “The zone presently exceeds the cow abundance objective. The addition of early A-tag cow
hunting opportunity may slow the growth of the cow elk population. Conversely, bull abundance
and ratios are well below objectives, suggesting that harvest rates are excessive.”
Lolo Zone: Below objective for cows and bulls.
Dworshak Zone: “Elk populations in the Dworshak Zone remain stable, despite the addition of wolves to
this zone and relatively high harvest” (p. 17).
Hells Canyon Zone: Objectives for Hells Canyon Zone (Figure 6) are to establish a population of 1,950 cows and
525 bulls, including 325 adult bulls at ratios of 25-29 bulls:100 cows in Unit 11, 18-24 bulls:100
cows in Unit 13, and 30-34 bulls:100 cows in Unit 18. Current permit levels should allow
Units 11, 13, and 18 elk populations to reach objectives” (p. 21).
Elk City Zone: “Objectives for Elk City Zone (Figure 7) are to establish a population of 3,900 cows and
850 bulls, including 475 adult bulls at ratios of 18-24 bulls:100 cows and 10-14 adult bulls:100
cows. The current cow harvest management strategy has allowed that segment of the population
to achieve its objective in 2008. B-tag sales were capped beginning with the 2002 hunting
season to allow the bull segment of the population to reach objectives in 2008” (p.25).
Ralph and others:
Did you hear about this incident? Any thought?
This week in Montana, aerial sharpshooters with the U.S. Department of Agriculture gunned down the last four wolves of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack, first targeted this summer for preying on a sheep on the secretive USDA Sheep Experiment Station west of Yellowstone National Park.
Eliminating the federal sheep station — which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in southwestern Montana and southeastern Idaho and has long scorned environmental compliance — would help wolves and other wildlife survive in a crucial habitat corridor between Yellowstone and the vast wilderness of central Idaho.
Through legal action, the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies have already forced the sheep station to allow outside scrutiny of its actions, and to conduct a comprehensive public review of its actions for the first time in its 94-year existence.
The killing of the Sage Creek Pack highlights the necessity of eliminating the archaic sheep station and dedicating its land holdings to conservation. Please contact Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and tell him wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, wolverines, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and other sensitive wildlife are more important than a taxpayer-funded, illegally managed sheep ranch/
Everyone should pay attention to this Sheep Station. Little is known about it. It is a huge blockage to wildlife migration along the Continental Divide, not just wolves. It is run the Univ. of Idaho (or so they say). Somehow they don’t produce academic papers there anymore, and anyone who enters faces arrest. There also seem to be a lot of dead sheep, far more than wolves would take. Ralph Maughan
Hmmm, very interesting point you make, this http://hawksaw.net is rather fishy…many do seem to come from helicopter views, how is this allowed?
“While Island Park as a whole can’t be a national monument (my opinion), it is possible that smaller unique features nearby like Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, the adjacent Warm River and Robinson Creek Canyon, could be.
I know the area very well. I grew up in Ashton. I worked for the FS and helped survey many of the hundreds of miles of roads in Island Park. I’ve hunted and fished all over IP. My sister just built a cabin on Henry’s Lake. I killed a deer just across Robison Creek only to have a grizzly steel it. (I could barely lift this deer and the grizzly carried it off in his mouth.) I know of the extensive logging and roads and remember Island Park before the logging.
But the roads are mostly in heavy timbers. It would be a simple matter ripped the road bed with a D8 and loosen the compacted soil so that it would soon forest over. You’d never know most of those roads were there in 50 years. I have seen similar logged areas at the head of the North Fork of the Clearwater that were logged at the turn of the century and you would never know it. Roads, like the Fish Creek road (highway), could stay for several years and, over time, be relocated and/or removed…maybe removing/replacing the some grades and cuts with heavy equipment. In time, you can do anything.
I am more worried about the private land. It is not a lot of private land but is so subdivided into so many small lots, there are a lot of land owners. What ever is done, it could be done in such a way that no one living today would be affected. People could keep their land with grandfather rights…similar to what was done in Teton Park. Maybe the big land owners on Henry’s Lake Flats could be compensated for their grazing rights so the grazing would end, the fences be removed, and the wildlife return. You are right that large areas of Henry’s Lake Flats are already Nature Conservancy land. Fremont county has already rejected plans for development on the Flats due to scenic zoning. The land has no income value other than grazing. Land owners on the Flats might give it up if they were compensated for the grazing and allowed to keep there homes with grandfather rights. What else can they do with land on the Flats? My family used to own some of it.
Some other subdivision might stay. Their value would increase if they were inside of a Monument or Park with lots of wildlife. It is possible that the west end of IP Reservoir might be enlarged. You might swing land deal around it and swap some private out of the monument.
Here is an Island Park slide show. In any of these images showing Island Parks many meadows or open “flats”, imagine them covered with buffalo, elk, and wolves.
If you hold your mouse over the thumbnail photo, it will give a small description of what the photo is of.
Great photos. Pointswest, Ralph M
“So what you’re telling me is that you are willing to say unequivocally that (a) elk populations, (b) bull/cow rations, (c) calf numbers, and (d) hunting opportunities are down in every management unit throughout the West? I call B.S”
NO!! No more than you are willing to tell ME that ALL of those numbers are meeting objectives in ALL of the different elk hunting zones. GET REAL!!
There are no – or at least not many – wolves in some of the zones. I could go thru – again – and cherry pick the ones I want just as you did. But as I said, more tactfully last time, I’m not interested in another pissing contest.
The “wolfie” side would have people believe that elk populations in Idaho are NOT AFFECTED by the growing wolf population — that’s crap and you know it.
Radicals on the “not for them” side would have you believe that there are 7000 wolves in Idaho alone and there are only 3.6 elk left in the whole state — that’s crap also.
The middle is where the truth lies and unfortunately the “wolfie” side is NEVER going to admit that there should ever be ANY reason to control the wolf population for any reason — any more than the “low forehead Idaho redneck” side is going to decide that there is a reason for ANY wolves in the state.
Stalemate. Now what the hell do we do??
“Oh and as far as a national park here in Idaho, I would love that, I can’t believe the powers that be have not recognized that amount of money that places like yellowstone bring in. After all IDFG did waffle on the wildlife viewing areas as mentioned in their wolf plan.”
I agree. We would basically lose some logging and some grazing. Forest products are on their way out in the building industry anyway and the value added to the area as a tourist destination would by far outway any cost in the summer grazing. It would be a boon to the area economy. Plus, it would probably be the best wildlife viewing area in the lower 48 states…maybe even in the entire Park system since weather is pretty good all summer (is cloudly a lot in Alaska).
Ralph or anyone else…need the FS email address to comment on the helicopter landing in wilderness areas.
“points west, ever been in the box canyon around June 1? It may be the best birding/wildlife spot in Idaho? Absolutely amazing!”
If you have any info on the special nature of Island Park, let me know. I will be compiling such info.
Like why is it such good birding?
Island Park is very unique geographically due to its high precipitation at moderate elevations. It (and the SW Corner of Yellowstone) are a Shangri La of sorts. Nothing like it for hundreds of miles around.
There was an article in National Geographic several years ago abut a guy studying Great Grey Owls in IP. He clained IP had the highest concentration of Great Greys’s in the world. The are a common site in IP.
The wolf research here in Yellowstone seems to have deteriorated into one group using park helicopters to take photographs for personal gain and another faction which uses the wolf collars to locate wolves for tour buses for personal gain. At the very least, it is a conflict of interest. At the worst, it is criminal and needs to be punished.
If you stop at the visitor center here in Mammoth, the rangers at the desk have little knowledge of wolf and bear sightings, but if you stop at the Yellowstone Association Store in Gardiner, they have up to date information. Makes you wonder who is running Yellowstone National Park.
Is the superintendent already retired or just pretending to work while drawing a paycheck and looking forward to that day?
“There are no – or at least not many – wolves in some of the zones. I could go thru – again – and cherry pick the ones I want just as you did. But as I said, more tactfully last time, I’m not interested in another pissing contest.”
Actually, I listed the zones in the order they appeared on the report; or didn’t you notice that my “cherry-picked” zones included the much-fabled Lolo?
You made a blanket statement about Idaho elk populations that is fundamentally incorrect, and I called you on it. I’m sorry if this caused you grief.
The new National Parks Director is finally on the job. Maybe there will be reform, meaning some new superintendents of Parks.
Response to JerryB: “Scoping comments should be sent to: Salmon-Challis National Forest, Attn: William Wood, Forest Supervisor, 1206 S. Challis St., Salmon, Idaho 83467. Although your comments are always welcome, comments are most helpful to us if received by October 16, 2009. Electronic comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
You can read the scoping letter and related project documents under “Projects and Plans” “Authorization to Idaho Department of Fish and Game for Helicopter Landings in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness” at http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/sc/projects/.
On the topic of STATE CONTROL of wolves…
I was reviewing the 1978 Final Rule that reclassified gray wolves in the U.S. and established critical habitat for the species and was reminded of something that now seems relevant: the state of Minnesota vehemently opposed the listing of wolves as endangered or threatened. Why is this interesting/relevant now. Because (a) the dire predictions were much the same as we are witnessing now from the western states and (b) because (at the time) Minnesota had more wolves (1,235 in 1977) then any of the three states.
Here are a few of the things Minnesota said about the intital listing (according to the 1978 Final Rule:
MN DNR: “Minnesota Department of Natural Resources petitioned the Service to exclude Minnesota from the range over which the eastern timber wolf is considered Endangered.”
Governor: “The Governor of Minnesota stated that the wolf in Minnesota should be classified neither as Endangered nor Threatened. He indicated that the…regulations would not allow for adequate control of depredating wolves….”
The MN State Legislature: Passed a resolution calling for “complete declassification of the wolf in Minnesota, and cited the following reasons:  the wolf population had reached carrying capacity in many areas and was expanding into areas “not heretofore inhabited”;  hardship was resulting from wolf depredations;  the State had adequate resources and authority to effectively manage the wolf: and  the Legislature believed it best for the State to have exclusive control of its resident wolf population.”
Thus, Minnesota made the same types of arguments that Idaho and Montana are making now; the only real difference is that Minnesota’s politicians chose to forgo the melodrama. Given Minnesota’s subsequent success with BOTH wolves and white-tail deer populations, I think we should view the claims of Idaho and Montana very skeptically.
– – – – – – –
A brief note on comparisons between Idaho and Minnesota:
A lot of people have made claims that comparisons between Idaho and Minnesota are not valid because the white-tailed deer (the primary ungulate prey species available in MN) are much more prolific and abundant than elk (the primary prey species in the West). They argue that the effect of 1000 wolves (current estimate in Idaho) on elk is substantial, while the influence of 3,200 wolves on deer in Minnesota is not. This deserves some critical analysis.
Wolves were listed as threatened in Minnesota with an estimated population of 1,275. At that time, wolves occupied only about 1/10th (~9,000 sq. miles) of the northern most part of the state. Most of this area is classified as wilderness and it is dominated by large conifers, lakes and wetlands. These areas have much less food available for deer than the agricultural areas of the southern portion of the state; indeed, deer density in the Northeast portion of the state is typically the lowest in the state. In contrast, Idaho’s wolf population (~1,000) is scattered over roughly 2/3 of the state (~55,000 sq. miles). While the overall prey biomass available to wolves in this area is still probably less than in Minnesota, the difference is much less than many people would have us believe.
My point: The sky will not fall if wolves remain listed. The Governor will holler, the Legislature will make absurd claims, some hunters will bitch, and wolves and elk will keep on doing what they’ve always done–try to survive.
There’s goes Larry with his accusations without having any facts or proof to support them. A man of character…
Predator patrol: Blackfoot (MT) ranchers rest easier knowing their stock is being watched over by range rider
I still say we need wolf-priority areas and human-priority areas. There will always be problems mixing human activity with wolf activity.
Given that the lower 48 has only1 percent of the designated Wilderness we have left, I think we as humans could share – and coexist with our fellow predators. We have taken over everything else for God’s sake. I was looking at the map of the National Wilderness Preservation System yesterday and it is quite alarming how few acres of true Wilderness remain, Pointswest. So the “human-priority” areas as you term it, has been clearly defined already…we need to move over for our wolves and other predators. Also given that much pasture land is on the tax payers’ dime…occupied by millions and millions of cattle.
And for those who claim there has one been only one documented wolf attack in the USA since 1900, there is this story that could be clasified as an attack. It happened this spring.
“So the “human-priority” areas as you term it, has been clearly defined already…we need to move over for our wolves and other predators. Also given that much pasture land is on the tax payers’ dime…occupied by millions and millions of cattle.”
I agree with you and I think now is a good time to start. I think we should preserve more land. In fact, I think we should restore land as wildlife habitat. We should figure out what is left, what will give us the most bang for the buck, and go for it.
As I’ve mentioned before, I think we are in the beginning stages of a green revolution. It is very apparent here in California. Also, the Gen-Y-ers are very much concerned about ecology and the environment and it was probably the Gen-Y-ers, more than any other single factor, that got Obama elected. Politician will be listening to them in the future.
“And for those who claim there has one been only one documented wolf attack in the USA since 1900, there is this story that could be clasified as an attack. It happened this spring.”
Who made that claim? I think you may have misread the article I posted. The author (McNay) reviewed all reported attacks in at attempt to verify them. He found only one unprovoked attack could be verified between 1900 and 1969 (as of 2002), but was able to verify 18 unprovoked attacks between 1969 and 2000 (however habituation to humans contributed to 11 of these 18 cases).
Personally, I’m not interested in confining wolves to “wilderness zoos”, nor I’m I interested in having them in downtowns. Fortunately, there’s a lot of space between these two extremes.
McNay, M. E. (2002). Wolf-Human Interactions in Alaska and Canada: A Review of the Case History. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 30(3), 831-843.
Well to “go for it” takes many steps and a lot of time. Citizens can’t just ask for W to be designated and it will happen over night.
There are many proposed designated Wilderness areas, that need to be Congressionally mandated. The Great Burn in ID/MT is an example- has been on the proposed list for about 8 years I think. Our previous Congressman of MT, Pat Williams, tried very hard to get this area designated as a Wilderness.
And according to Pat, Montanans did establish a then “new process” for citizen inspired Congressional recognition of Wilderness in 1972 with the Lincoln Scapegoat area – at the time it was a “primitive area” of 75,000 acres in the Helena National Forest north of Lincoln, MT. Cecil Garland, a Lincoln hardware dealer led a citizen’s effort to protect the area and Senators Mansfield and Metcalf introduced the citizen-inspired legislation in 1965. Congressman Jim Battin introduced the bill with more Wilderness acres then asked for and the Governor Tim Babcock endorsed it. (Pat Williams, August 2002)
Designated Wilderness is difficult to achieve through the slow government process..but it is very noble ideal to gain more.
In the meantime, I think we need to protect the designated Wilderness we do have, bring accountability to those who are abusing the Wilderness Act of 1964 with aerial gunning of wolves, and hopefully change the grazing laws another slow legal process.
Izabelam, I never heard about this secret sheep station. That sounds so fishy.
I agree that this area of Island Park would be nice to have buffalo grazing on it, as well as a thriving grizzly and wolf population.
I would love to see something enacted that would allow Bison grazing on public lands and not confined to just the park…
That would be nice. Did anyone see the special on Animal Planet on Yellowstone bison that was on today?
I have seen it before, it was a good show, at least I thought it was..
I always thought it would be nice if there was a series about Yellowstone buffalo or one on wolves or grizzles that was like “Meerkat Manor”. I wonder if that would change people’s views of these animals and situations.
I would like to see an ongoing series about Bison, not that I don’t like wolves and bears, but they seem to get most of the attention and the Bison are a foot note, being a person that got into biology because of Bison, I have always felt they were the almost ran wildlife…
I agree that bison are a footnote, and the fact that the Yellowstone bison are the last free-ranging herd in the nation does not get the attention it deserves. I just think wolves and grizzles should get coverage to change misconceptions.
Ryan, I could find no information backing your claim that “in Hart mountain NWR the numbers of antalope, bighorn sheep, and deer have dropped even though the cattle were removed many years ago.” They were removed in 1990 because of drought conditions and banned for 15 more years starting in 1994.
High Country News, November 2003: “On Oregon’s Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge this year, the news was good. ”
“Sage grouse counts were at an all-time high. Migratory birds absent from the refuge for decades have returned. This northwest corner of the Great Basin is seeing a resurgence of forbs, or flowering plants, which are essential food for lactating pronghorn antelope. Coyotes, which prey on pronghorn fawns, are down 40 percent since 1997.”
“Best of all, the survival rate for pronghorn fawns this year – one fawn for every two does – was the highest since the founding of the refuge in 1936. The 660 fawns that survived the spring fawning season bring the herd to 2,427 animals. ”
“A decade after managers kicked cows of…”
And the Oregon DFG was planning on transplanting bighorns from Hart to other areas.
My spouse spent two weeks helping remove cattle fences at Hart Mountain one summer about 3 years ago.
She said the density of fences was, or had been, incredible; but the refuge was coming back nicely.
This summer “2009, ONDA is poised to remove the final 4.6 miles, of over 200 miles of fences” from the refuge! I commend your spouse’s effort in this project.
As upsetting as this news is, I am also completely VERY pleased. There is a point in this that I have been TRYING to drive home for almost three years. I know many of you have also, for even longer. An unfortunate event has garnered a fortunate lesson. Let’s see who learns.
Choosing NOT to carry bear spray, quite possibly, just to be stubborn and indignant, has now driven home the point that; if someone in your hunting party does have a run in with a bear, their fault per usual, that trying to aim a bead on your buddy who is rolling around on the ground with a pissed off bear, is, by far, one of the most idiotic fantasies ever. I can also choose to look at this consequently in a more “blissful” light and say, maybe they just didn’t go to the required “bear spray before license” training classes. What? There are no “bear spray before license” training classes? There are so many reasons TO carry it. Why not? Positively there should be! There. That was me being zen.
Proud member of
The Bear Spray Mafia
Man attacked by bear near Cooke City
Updated: Oct 11, 2009 12:55 PM
A man was taken to the hospital after being attacked by a bear on Saturday morning in the Coulter Pass area, near Cooke City.
The Park County Sheriff’s Office in Livingston reports that a grizzly bear charged and started to maul a hunter around 10:30 Saturday morning.
Another hunter shot at the bear and bullet hit the man who was attacked by the bear. An ambulance took the injured hunter to the hospital. There is no word on his condition.
Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, along the U.S. Forest Service are helping in the investigation.
ProWolf – as you know me from post here, I do hope we all can get along and have a wonderful life, wolves, bison, big horn sheep, regular sheep…ranchers…
Well..I am a dreamer….
And for me coming from eastern Europe..I thought America was perfect….it took me me lots of years to understand.. we people come from the same genetic pool..same feelings, same characteristics…greed, jealaousy, envy, hatered….does not matter where you were born..
The below link is the USFS map of Island Park. The nice thing about USFS maps is that they show land ownership. Anything on this map that is not pure white is public land. I also colored in the Nature Conservancy land, with yellow, that is on the east side of Henry’s Lake Flats.
You can see that 90 to 95% of Island Park is public land. Most of the land that is private could remain private. A lot of the private is summer home lots are in forested areas that are out of view and I do not see them bothering much. Nearly all of open country near last chance is already public land and is part of Harriman State Park. Chick Creek Flats (where the scout camp is) is about half public. Some of that should be acquired. The prize, for wildlife and wild life viewers, would be Henry’s Lake Flats. A lot of the private land on the lake is already developed and may need to stay that way. But most of the eastern part of Henry’s Lake Flats is public. The private land on the east is mostly owned by three or four land owners. But they could keep there buldings and compounds with grandfather rights and could be both compensated for their land for 10 times what it would be worth to graze. It would be a deal for them. They could have their cabins on the edge of the Flats surrounded by buffalo, elk, wolves and grizzlies and have more income than from their ranching and they could pass it to their children and their children’s children.
The only other thing the Monument might ask is that buildings be obscured by trees…the Monument could even plant the trees for them.
Save Bears…I too agree with you about Bison. If I had lots of money and land, I’d turn the cattle ranching in my valley into a bison operation, as they once roamed here. Its a real travesty what we did, and are still doing to our native largest ungulate. Do you know much about the Buffalo Commons idea and if it has any chance of ever happening?
Buffalo commons is a great idea, unfortunately it won’t happen, until such time as we change public lands management in this country, Bison need to be recognize for what they are, a tie to the past of the great American heritage in other words, the native American heritage, it is our obligation to preserve them as a native species worthy of special protection. The Bison are the unsung hero of wild life on the American plains, and all to often overlooked because they are thought of as cattle..they are a unique species within the animal kingdom, and have suffered at every turn, since the white Europeans have come to North America..they are used as a pawn, to continue the brutal management practices of the land barons.I hope I live to see the day, they are actually given their due and rightful place in the wild kingdom..
Sorry if that sounds sappy, but it is true, they have always been the brunt of wild animals and it is time to recognize bison for the importance they really have..
SB, right on! Not sappy. No truer words were ever spoken.
When you realize that the Native Americans lived with and depended on the Bison for over 10,000 years, yet in less than 100 we wiped them out…! I too dream to see the day that I only read about in books, where people came across herds of several thousand at a time. Its unbelievable to me that this isn’t a main topic of conversation amongst Americans. I suppose I live in a bubble!
Wolves and Bears are the glamor species, but bison are one of the most important species, and please nobody take me wrong, I want and work for a balanced ecosystem, but out of all the species out there, bison are the only species that is regularly killed when they leave that 2.2 million acre area, there needs to be full restoration and to do that, it requires areas on public lands, outside the park. If we are going to continue to work to that balance, bison have to come along for the ride…I can only imagine, being a native American or a White Mountain man, and coming over a hill to be faced by a herd of over a million bison! I know we will never see that again, but there is so much public land that is suitable for bison habitation, it is terrible they are constrained in the park..
People I talk to here in LA who have been to Yellowstone went ga-ga over the bison. Thier seeing a big bull saunter past their car, “like it was totally wild due” was counted as one of the great experiences of their lives.
I think people in the Yellowstone area underestimate the interest in wildlife that people from the great urban areas have.
This is a really cool image posted today, taken from the International Space Station of the Arnica and Bearpaw fires- not to be missed!
…I thought America was perfect…Not quite but it is a great place. You are right that people everywhere have much of the same beliefs.
Save bears, if I could go back in time it would be with Lewis and Clark to see what they saw.
I would have to say, I would like to go back a bit further than Lewis and Clark to see how the country was, when the whites first came here, unspoiled and natural with the native Americans and the wildlife living normal..
Well PW, it would be a very good thing then if people in LA actually knew the extent that Bison are restricted, and then killed, when they leave the park, esp. those Bison going into Montana for the winter. At least here in WY Bison can leave the east entrance in the winter as the Forest service grazing allotments on the Shoshone were let go of and there are no cattle there. The cattle industry has political clout that is just so unreal. If people made even half the stink over the predicament of the Bison today as they make over wolves, the Bison might have more of a chance. Or, for that matter, half the stink that people make over elk!
Based on my research when I was with FWP, the genetic exchange going on with in the bison herds in the park , is very limited, what I do find amazing, This is one of the foremost arguments in the wolf restoration, is the genetic exchange between different populations. Why is there not more focus on the genetic limitations within the bison herds? Perhaps, Bob Jackson, who I know is well versed in the bison area can comment on this stalemate..and limited genetic exchange
Bison are conveniently forgotten about. It is strange how people think they are wild in more places and Montana’s tourism board advertises them roaming the state.
I also know that the genetic exchange issue is going to, if it has not already become an issue on the National Bison Range.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of bison in America, but unfortunately, most of them are ranched bison, there are very few wild bison in the US and there does need to be some actual formal research done about the genetic traits as well as the genetic dead ends that will happen, with these herds, Yellowstone and the National Bison Range are pretty much right now genetic dead ends…there needs to be some other genetic strains introduced into these areas through exchange programs and work with Canada on exchanging some of their wild bison within our wild bison, or we are going to end up with a genetic nightmare with no solution. There is only two places in Montana that Bison roam wild, The National Bison Range, which in fact they are not allowed to roam much as the whole place is fenced in, and the small parts of Yellowstone, in which they are captured, hazed or killed when they cross that same line in the sand that the wolves who were killed in Montana crossed…
And why are the Dakotas, some of the most fertile and natural original range of the American Bison, not one of the places being considered for free roaming wild bison?
Tourists come to Yellowstone and love to see Bison. I think the Dakotas could use more tourists, other than seeing the heads of dead Presidents.
I admire the work that Bison Field Camp does, and in fact when they first started I spent some time with them, I also worked with a group called Bison Belong and Bring Back the Bison, both those seemed to fall by the wayside, but I just can’t understand, why the large national conservation groups don’t become more active in this important fight, they file multitudes of lawsuits on the behalf of wolves, a few lawsuits on bears behalf, and virtually nothing on Bison’s behalf, fi we are to continue to the goal of having a balanced ecosystem, we need to work on as many fronts as possible because each species is important and has its place within that ecosystem.
Just got back from the annual Community Foods Convention and was going to just read a bit of the thread but here I go again.
It seems I am never able to go with conventional flow of thought and this time is no different.
First, those million head herds of bison are an abnormality for the type of country they inhabited. There was no need to migrate like in Africa where seasonal drought meant moving. Nor the same as caribou or the seasonal movement of wildlife out of the high mountains to the low lands. On the plains the only movement needed was to get to river bottoms when upland water froze and there was no snow to slack the thirst.
Those million head herds were man induced and I’d have say it all started after the horse came to this country. The Indians screwed these herds up well before whiteman impacted. The horse allowed a lot more human population in Americas “great desert” and it also allowed for a lot more travel into bisons santuaries. Thus the bison families in their homes had to start grouping up and staying closer together for protection. It was a chain reaction where a migrating mass then would eat out the home of the next family…thus force this family to join in. It was not that they lost home for good but it definitely impacted home.
No you won’t read what I describe in any book, but this is what happened.
As for Yellowstone bison and genetic bottlenecks as long as there are functional families there is no need to worry. The same thing, where the girl or guy looks more appealing in the other school, occurs with all wildlife. That is half the battle of genetics. But without extended families there is no culture developing. ands without culture there is only the genetics of chance. With culture there is planned competition and a lot more effort put into species survivability. So much so that individual members of herds or packs can pass on genetics without ever producing offspring. You also get line breeding without inbreeding, the unsolvable dilemna of animal husbandry.
With the dysfunction occurring in Yellowstone because of indiscriminate bison reductions (hunts will produce the same dysfunction if carried out in the same manner as G&F does with other wildlife), then there is cause for alarm.
And Save B., regarding the Forest Service and game wardens we were discussing earlier, they must have changed VERY FAST for you to see all those differences. In federal law dog work one can legally shoot bad guys till you are 57. That was four years ago.
While I was writing my post there were others added. I will say this with assuredness of fact. My bison herd (4-500 on 1000 fenced acres) has a lot more genetic exchange and long term herd vitality occuring than what is on happening with the dysfunctional herds of the Bson Range, Custer State Park, Wind Cave and Teddy Ros. ……COMBINED.
Henry’s Mts. and it is a wash.
Bob, I have read theories that the estimates of 60 million Bison in around the 1600’s was an anomaly because most of the native americans were already wiped out by then from diseases; and it was these indigenous peoples that culled these herds. With the Indians gone, there was a population explosion so to speak. Any opinion on this?
You and I were not discussing Game Wardens, That was with another poster here, I didn’t post anything about game wardens..so that part of your post, I am in the dark about..
I think that conversation about G&F and Wardens was between you and Layton, not me, I stayed out of that one..
Though not quite old enough to have witnessed first hand I’d say before the horse there was little permanent human occupancy on the Plains. Start ups, yes, but all it took was one bad extended blizzard and they started from square one again. Thus, I’d say only diseases post horse had much impact on the bison numbers there.
East of the Missouri, where lands and climate were more hospitable to humans I’d say bison numbers were inversely proportionate to numbers of humans. The only reason they were probably there at all was human WARS…and these eternal and went on long before European diseases came on the scene.
The no mans lands between the warring factions was probably the only thing that allowed extended family infrastructure of herds to stay functional.
Thus with only seasonal Plains human walk abouts for penetration into the “Desert”, large herd animals such as Mammoth and bison …. those very dependent on social order for survivability …… had only the wars between their own factions to worry about to maintain “numbers”….that and a few things like climate change, glaciers and in the beginning having the earth cool.
Thanks for the correction. And now for you, Layton, you scum bag son of a gun…just kidding.
I agree with Bob that the theory that buffalo migrated up and down the Great Plains does not make sense. Their range was from northern Texas to central Saskatchewan, but the whole heard did not migrate this great distance. So some migrated from Texas to Kansas and some migrated from Kansas to Saskatchewan? There were two herds? It doesn’t make sense.
It might be interesting to read the journals of Coronado. These are probably the oldest descriptions of the Great Plains. In Coronado’s crazy search for the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola (what a quack), he led an expedition from Albuquerque, New Mexico to eastern Kansas in search of the Quivira people who some moron told him had all the gold. Coronado went hundreds of miles out onto the plains. If I remember the story correctly, they navigated with compass and sextant and hardly saw anything but grass. It took them many weeks to find the Wichita Indians and this was only a small village, and guess what, they didn’t have any gold. It sounds like there were not many people on the plains in the 1540’s. Indians could not follow the buffalo without horses but could only wait for them at their buffalo jumps.
One more piece of the puzzle is that, from my recent reading, I know the buffalo fairly suddenly disappeared from Utah, Oregon and fairly quickly from Idaho.…they disappeared before the great buffalo slaughter of the late 1870’s. The Upper Snake River Valley in Idaho once had many buffalo. Brigham Young is quoted in the mid 1850’s as saying the buffalo have retreated from Utah and are rapidly retreating in Oregon (Oregon Territory once included Idaho).
I believe it went something like this. As pioneers started coming through on the Oregon and California trails, they killed a lot of game and their stock grazed a lot of grass. Shortly after the discovery of gold in California in 1847, traffic on these trails was on the order to 300 wagons a day. The trails branched out as grazing was depleted on the older routes. There were also traders in the forts along the routes that foraged for food and grazing. Fort hall (near Pocatello) was a great livestock trading center where they kept great herds of horses and oxen so pioneers could trade in their old tired stock for something new and refreshed. The traders at Fort Hall would graze these thousands of tired horses, mules, and oxen all up and down the Upper Snake River Valley and even up into Montana.
Needless to say that this was all pretty hard on the native herds of deer, elk, and buffalo. These native herds already had their predators, the Shoshone, the Bannock, and the wolves. As soon as you reduced the buffalo by 30%, the ratio of predator to prey was tipped to a very unstable position. There was not time for the wolves or the Indians to die off. Within a couple of years, they cleared the entire area of buffalo and elk. Once they were gone, the starving Indians all surrenders and went onto reservations in the 1860’s but the wolves all starved to death. When you have a balance between a predator species and a prey species, it does not take much to create instability to where both collapse.
In the Great Plains, we had the horse culture come and hunt the buffalo but we also had tribes being pushed onto the plains by Americans and by other tribes further east who had trade with the American who gave them guns. Finally, we had guns coming onto the Great Plains. This all makes for a very unstable situation in the predator-pray balance. In a couple of hundred years, there could have been a few mass die-offs of buffalo, Indians, and wolves each followed by a big resurgence of the buffalo. We will probably never know the story.
Leslie, have you read the book 1492? The book brings up many interesting things on the size of native american populations in the Americas, there impacts on the ecosytems and wildlife populations prior to European diseases devasated the continents. The book implies that wildlife populations where controlled by the the large native american populations and that only after they were heavily impacted by diseases brought from europe did passenger pigeon, buffalo, and other wildlife numbers explode. Just curious if you were referencing this theory.
With that data of yours try exchanging the word bison for human. Then add a little bit of hunter-gatherer tribal social composition to the mix and you have your answers to the “die off” or shape of bison anywhere, MIdwest, East or arid West.
Now pour in a bit of cross referencing of infrastructure knowledge on those indigenous peoples and how level of infrastructure attainable was dependent on amount of resources available and length of time this infrastructure had matured….and you soon can dissect and then understand the fragileness of those arid western and sw herds on bison.
The white buffalo hunters could get maybe 60-70 bison (the record was 102 in S. North Dakota) in a total annilation of one family (stand is what it was called) in favorable habitat parts of the country, but at the most 15-25 in those Utah and other harsh SW climate areas.
Thus, if you forget about those “30% losses” as referencing numbers of an entire population, but instead think of it as losses of the same per cent ….. but apply this loss to the same numbers making up an indigenous extended tribe infrastructure….and lo and behold you start to understand how those people (or bison) living in harsh conditons didn’t have to be adversely shattered very much before they became dysfunctional and defunct, with or without the “predators”, whether it was man or beast.
The best the remnants could do was join up with other extended families…which may or may not be possible…depending on whether their home (niche) was filled up.
On our farm the bison niche is always too close to full. Thus if we leave a few yearlings, calves (or even bulls where the rest of the bull group has been field slaughtered) then those animals are not accepted or allowed in by the other 400….5 family bison. It is especially hard to watch what was once a magnificent mature bull go down hill fast without his buds.
The rest of the bulls from other families…even those immature 2 year olds….. chase him around and keep him on the fringes. The calves have to stay way off and die within a month.
Now, if we make two, one hundred extended family live animal sales within two years…and the “herd” is down to 250 and three family groups, then those “stragglers” from any field slaughter operations will be taken in with open arms.
The bison herds in arid west were a lot more fragile than one thinks. Only because of the indigenous way of families hunting families were those animals still there when ole Bringham showed up on the scene. Of course he should have recognized what was happening to those families of bison…since he was trying to form up an extended family of humans for himself no different than all herd animals do.
Speaking of books, does anyone have any good book suggestions? Anything related to the history of ranching on public lands?
Three of my recommendations
– Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leopold.
– Cadillac Desert- Marc Reisner
– Mark of the Grizzl- Scott McMillion
Interesting article, although I find the source a bit suspect.. Do they have any literature to cite their facts?
“The refuge now has about a third as many mule deer (an estimated 800 to 1000) as it did at the time it was established. Populations of sage grouse have declined as well from a peak of 8750 in the 1940s to 800 to 1000 currently.”
Devin, I am beginning to read “The western range revisited. Removing livestock from public lands to conserve native biodiversity” by Debra Donahue. She is at UofW and I understand quite controversial for her opinions of range land. Written in 1999.
Carl, I have read that book, yes. It also presents the theory that there were many many more natives here than once thought. Also, remember that there were large civilizations that came and went even before 1492 that we know little about i.e. Cahokia in Southern Illinois, the mound builders. I’m sure they had some Bison for dinner too, although they were farmers.
“Sacred Cows at the Public Trough”………Denzel and Nancy Ferguson
Explains the history of public lands ranching and how the “noblemen” took over state government which they still control .
I think I’m going to have to give up on this Jackson character.
“water froze and there was no snow to slack the thirst.”
“And now for you, Layton, you scum bag son of a gun…”
FIRST he comes out with obviously erroneous information, and then with THREATS!!
As much as I’ve tried to teach Bob, he just comes on with his “midwest buffalo cowboy” lack of a vocabulary. Sorry Robert — it’s SLAKE not SLACK.
SLACK is what you quickly get in your lariat after that bull comes toward you after you (foolishly) roped him.
SLAKE, otoh, is the following:
“1. to allay (thirst, desire, wrath, etc.) by satisfying.
As for the threat part, I’ve got one of those “greenie” lawyers on a retainer – I’ll be filing a suit immediately after they get done with their current wolf lawsuits — probably about ten years or so!!
I’m going to see if I can buy some time in Judge Malloy’s court.
And here (for JB) is the reference to the definition above.
(feelin’ good this AM 8) )
Jay- (Never saw a radio collar he didn’t like)
Why don’t you order the calendar “Yellowstone Wolves 2010” from http://www.hawksaw.net and tell me if you think most of those photos of Yellowstone Wolves are not taken from a helicopter. Note the photo credits hidden inside of the calendar. (Smith, Stahler and Metz) All of the photographers are part of the Yellowstone Wolf Study.
Or stop at the Yellowstone Association Store in Gardiner, as I did, and ask about seeing wolves. (You can buy the calendar :”Yellowstone Wolves 2010″ featuring photos taken by Smith, Stahler and Metz, there- I did) You will be directed to the most recent wolf sighting and told to watch for a man named Rick with a bright yellow car holding an antenna. (Actually you will given the make of the car as well- I was.)
The Yellowstone Association makes money from it’s fleet of Rick-Radio-Equipped buses that rush to see the wolves found by Rick in his bright yellow car. (“Rick Radio” is a term given to the radios, by photographers and other park visitors, that Rick and his wolf watchers use to communicate with.)
I find it very strange that the Yellowstone Association in Gardiner gets notified of every wolf sighting and that the park rangers in the Mammoth visitor center and at the park gate are never informed. (It couldn’t possibly be part of a plan to get all park visitors into the Yellowsone Association Stores, where they might buy something, could it?)
Larry, as a photographer yourself, this seems unfair.
It seems to me that photos taken with government money, time and equipment are public domain.
Why don’t you see if you can acquire these and sell them yourself with your own commentary?
Speaking of public domain. I put some of my photos there. Please use the photo of that miserable houndstongue infested black Angus. Circulate it! http://wolves.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/cow-w-weed-seeds.jpg
We have a terrible problem with these cows on the national forest (Caribou NF) near Pocatello. These unherded black cows wander up and down a paved highway (open range) day and night from June through October. What a fun nighttime trip it is from the West Fork of Mink Creek to Crystal Summit.
Currently these cows are also illegally entered the West Mink (city watershed). All the staff seem to have taken off work by noon last Friday! So phone calls go unanswered.
You might also contact the Westside (Pocatello) district ranger of the USFS and ask him to cancel or modify this grazing allotment.
4350 Cliffs Drive
Pocatello, Idaho 83204
Somewhat pissed about this grrrrrrrrr
I would be more inclined to believe if this is true and it was done with government resources and is now benefiting a private non-profit organization, it could be considered mis- appropriation of federal funds. I would be interested in knowing who the principals of hawksaw products are and how they acquired the photos to produce this calender for the benefit of the Yellowstone association. Sounds like something fishy is going on here…
Doug Smith told me that their photos are public domain. So it might be a matter of knowing that and asking.
Information is valuable stuff!
I understand they would be public domain, but I would be interested how this private company acquired them, were they published somewhere, so the company knew who to talk to for usage? I am just interested in this little circle that seems to be going on. I know it is legal to use government photos, several book authors have done it over the years, noting credit to the NPS and not individual photographers, these images are credited to three principals involved in the wolf project and not the agency…
I forgot to mention that Hawksaw http://www.hawksaw.net promises to produce a new wolf calendar each year from photos taken from the beginning of the Yellowstone Wolf introduction.
my only concern or question, is hawksaw.net being given unfair access to public domain photos to use in a for profit venture?
Any photos that are public domain are accompanied by a caption “NPS photo” or “USFWS photo”, or any other federal agency owning the photos. This calendar does not use these captions and gave credit to the actual photographer.
Save Bears: Hawksaw is a for- profit company owned by Christine Smith.
I am aware of that, what I am wondering is were they given a heads up by anyone involved? Which would constitute unfair access to publicly own photos, crediting the individual photographers is a no, no from my understanding, they agency is supposed to be credited, not the photographers..
Hope you’re doing an “irony” sort of post. I didn’t know if you would get the humor in mine so I added….”just kidding” just in case you didn’t. Still don’t know if you did.
And of “coarse” in Back To the Future the “principle” (or is it principal) calls Marty a “slacker”.
And to “defend” myself with flawed procedure I write a lot with sound, first, and then look up to see what the screen looks like. In this case on review of my original “draft” I had put in “slacer” then added the “K” I guess without the delete on the “c” being carried through. Like I say, it is a bear to write all without seeing the result and then correct…and then look up again to see if the corrections were actually punched in. sometimes the looking up doesn’t catch it all.
If you look at this website, which is the public domain library for the NPS, the usage guidelines and the way the photo credit given is spelled out.
“The white buffalo hunters could get maybe 60-70 bison (the record was 102 in S. North Dakota) in a total annilation of one family (stand is what it was called) in favorable habitat parts of the country, but at the most 15-25 in those Utah and other harsh SW climate areas.
Thus, if you forget about those “30% losses” as referencing numbers of an entire population, but instead think of it as losses of the same per cent ….. but apply this loss to the same numbers making up an indigenous extended tribe infrastructure….and lo and behold you start to understand how those people (or bison) living in harsh conditons didn’t have to be adversely shattered very much before they became dysfunctional and defunct, with or without the “predators”, whether it was man or beast. ”
In the Upper Snake River Valley, the densities of buffalo were probably as high as any of the valleys of Montana or Wyoming. The buffalo were gone by 1860, however, long before the white buffalo hunters ever arrived. The buffalo remained in Montana and Wyoming until the great slaughter by the “white buffalo hunters” in the late 70’s. I agree the populations may have been “fragile” in western Idaho, Eastern Oregon, or in Utah, but not in Eastern Idaho. I think the early collapse of the herds in Eastern Idaho was due to the Oregon and California trails and due to Fort Hall and its vast stock grazing up the valley.
But the point I was trying to make is that the sudden impact of the thousands of pioneers coming through the area upset the predator-prey balance and the buffalo all but disappeared from Idaho by about 1860. They went from herds of hundreds or thousands to no buffalo in just a few years. From 1860 onwards, the Shoshone and Bannock had to travel to Montana or Wyoming to find buffalo and it was hunger that forced them into the treaties and onto reservations in the early 60’s.
There may have been similar collapses, decades earlier, elsewhere as horse culture spread from the Rio Grand and as tribes and guns came from the East onto the Great Plains. I don’t know, it is just a guess.
It is odd, however, that there were 30 million buffalo on the Great Plains in the 1850’s but only a few thousand Indians. Were these some relatively static populations or was there some dynamic process going on where the buffalo were at some great maximum and Indians at a minimum? There were also smallpox epidemics among the Indians of the northwest as the Hudson Bay Company moved into the area in the very early 1800’s. There may have been smallpox epidemics on the Great Plains.
Since this is an open thread, where did Marc Gamblin go?? haven’t seen him on here for a bit…
Here appears to be a voice of reason in Montana’s Blackfoot country, except I don’t know about citizens having access to those wolf collar frequencies.
Multiples of smaller families, all keeping their seperate identity and distance, made up the larger “herds”. Unless there were stampedes the early observers could usely make out the identity of the seperate “herds” within the larger “mass”.
What the stand hunters did when this massing occurred was to seek out and shoot the families on the fringes of the larger “herds”. I’d say these herds on the perimeter were satellite herds (same as start up waterfowl flocks)intent on keeping as much identity as possible …or those “herds” in poor shape. Either way they were more vulnerable to predation…whether human or wolf.
As for epidemics, they started well before the 1800’s. just like honey bees they proceeded the physical arrival of the whiteman.
A good book on all this bison stuff is Heads, Hides and Horns. You might have to use your knowledge to intreprete some of this and forget Barness’s assessments but the verbatim fact and history is there. But there are many more books also. I probably have 100 of them. It is what I have to research most every night to keep ahead of the game for presentations and better understanding of the Native-bison interactions…. as well as finding out “true” nutrition.
I can tell you this, front quarters were prefered by natives over the hind and animals can not concentrate nutrients until that animal stops growing. That being said, sometimes digestion is more important than nutrition (very young and infim) when it came to eating animals.
Basically, the mature animals were best for the corresponding same mature and active population of predator. Thus killing and eating the whole family of bison best matched the needs of the extended family of humans or wolves hunting that herd animal.
This is from national news. I think this should help to protect wolves.
Here’s the latest from Wyoming’s junior US Senator, former orthopedic surgeon John ” Bonehead” Barrasso , as poached from a story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide:
Lead bullets in parks OK, Barrasso says
Statement comes after studies show scavengers eat lead bullet fragments from hunter-killed game.
By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: October 7, 2009
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said studies showing lead poisoning in Jackson Hole’s wildlife wouldn’t influence his decision to oppose a proposal to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle in national parks.
Barrasso and Sen. Mike Enzi issued a press release last month saying that such a ban would “negatively impact hunters, anglers, conservation groups and manufacturers throughout the country.”
Former acting National Park Service Director Daniel Wenk proposed such a ban last March but quickly retracted the statement, saying the Park Service would study the issue further.
In the September release, Barrasso said: “Hunting and fishing is a way of life in Wyoming. This and other recent restrictions placed on our parks by the Obama administration continue to diminish American traditions and experiences. This ban rejects the stated purpose of our national parks, which is to provide enjoyment and benefit to the public.”
Enzi agreed. “There has been widespread use of lead in hunting and fishing products, and there is no reason to suddenly ban its use without scientific reasoning,” he said. “The National Park Service should continue to ensure people have access to our national parks, not come up with creative ways to keep people out.”
The press release comes despite data by investigators at Craighead Beringia South, a Kelly-based research group, that show that ravens and eagles get elevated blood lead levels during hunting season by ingesting bullet fragments left in gut piles from hunter-killed game.
Of close to 500 ravens tested over five years, researchers say roughly 50 percent of ravens show elevated lead levels during the big-game hunting season, compared to 2 percent during the nonhunt periods.
For eagles, the lead toxicity is more pronounced, with 85 percent of eagles exhibiting high lead levels during the hunting season.
Since then, Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge have both asked hunters to voluntarily switch to nonlead bullets.
When asked about the studies, Barrasso spokesman Greg Keeley said in an e-mail, “Management of wildlife populations are done a population basis, not an individual basis.”
Keeley said the senator doesn’t oppose a voluntary switch to nonlead bullets. “Senator Barrasso is not opposed to hunters choosing to use nontraditional ammunition to harvest wildlife. Let the market decide, not an arbitrary federal government decision,” he said.
While studies using X-rays have shown that hunter-killed game from meat processors can still contain lead bullets, Keeley took issue with the suggestion that eating lead-shot meat could impact human health.
“Independent, nonpartisan studies such as those carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that lead ammunition does not pose a threat to humans,” he said.
Enzi’s office referred all questions on the issue to Barrasso.
Bryan Bedrosian, one of the researchers involved with lead studies at Craighead Beringia South, said he supports the voluntary effort to get rid of lead bullets. The group is providing free nonlead bullets to hunters with permits for the refuge and the park.
“We would welcome either senator or their offices to contact us, and we would provide them with a plethora of peer-reviewed scientific data on the effects of lead ammunition and wildlife,” he said.
Bedrosian said 45 percent of eagles tested during hunting season showed blood-lead levels of 100 micrograms per deciliter, a level that “typically causes impairment to survival.”
“We’ve tested an eagle as high as 550 [micrograms per deciliter],” he said. “Most reports state than anything more than 500 equals death.”
Other researchers are looking into the effects of lead on bears, wolves, coyotes and cougars, he said.
Andy Ward, an employee of the Jack Dennis Outdoor Shop, is helping Craighead Beringia South distribute the nonlead ammunition. “We agree with it being voluntary,” he said. “It’s good for the environment.”
“We’re not sure that it needs to be mandatory just because it costs so much to do it,” Ward continued. “The more people that want to do it on a voluntary basis, the better.”
——– end quote——–
Now, ‘m nt sure how ro explain or evenr elate to Sen. Enzi , who in his past life was a shoe salesman and accountant. But in Seantor Barrasso’s case, I presume that anyone who completes his 8 year M.D. education and gets licensed to do invasive surgeries on people must have a fairly robust science background.
How can Barrasso claim lead doesn’t adversely affect any animal ( including humans) that ingest it ?
Larry, why don’t you get off your @ss and maybe make a phone call or two before making baseless accusations? Freaking pathetic–you call folks out with nothing other than your gut feeling. Did you notice how Ralph bothers to research the issue by picking up the phone…you should try it.
Jay (Who Hides behind his fake name)
Hang on dimwit, there is more to come. I am not the only one looking into this matter. I’ll keep you posted.
Larry (who isn’t man enough to back up his accusations)–you mean you actually are going follow up on your accusations? Actually, I doubt it–you’ll wait for somebody else to do it for you. No doubt anybody who has read your tripe knows who the dimwit is…
It appears that CNBC has a problem distinguishing coyotes from wolves. Hope the researchers using Canon’s equipment do better! 😉
Happy Columbus Day!!!!
I’m posting this because of the reference to” We’tiko” warfare that is still practiced by ranchers and farmers. (about 4 paragraphs from the end of article)
Published on Monday, October 12, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
A Columbus Day Meditation – As Nobel Laureate Obama Decides Whether to ‘Conquer’ Afghanistan…
by Thom Hartmann
“Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise.” — Christopher Columbus, 1503 letter to the king and queen of Spain.
“Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith.” — George H.W. Bush, 1989 speech
If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the island on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a blowtorch and burned away anything green. Even the ocean around the port capital of Port au Prince is choked for miles with the brown of human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the air, it looks like a lava flow spilling out into the sea.
The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for what’s happening in the whole world.
When Columbus first landed on Hispaniola in 1492, virtually the entire island was covered by lush forest. The Taino “Indians” who lived there had an apparently idyllic life prior to Columbus, from the reports left to us by literate members of Columbus’s crew such as Miguel Cuneo.
When Columbus and his crew arrived on their second visit to Hispaniola, however, they took captive about two thousand local villagers who had come out to greet them. Cuneo wrote: “When our caravels… where to leave for Spain, we gathered…one thousand six hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and these we embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495…For those who remained, we let it be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island’s fort) in the vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some of them could do so, to the amount desired, which was done.”
Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib girl as his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that when he attempted to have sex with her, she “resisted with all her strength.” So, in his own words, he “thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.”
While Columbus once referred to the Taino Indians as cannibals, a story made up by Columbus — which is to this day still taught in some US schools — to help justify his slaughter and enslavement of these people. He wrote to the Spanish monarchs in 1493: “It is possible, with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is possible to sell…Here there are so many of these slaves, and also brazilwood, that although they are living things they are as good as gold…”
Columbus and his men also used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a common reward for Columbus’ men for him to present them with local women to rape. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts of the world, the sex-slave trade became an important part of the business, as Columbus wrote to a friend in 1500: “A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand.”
However, the Taino turned out not to be particularly good workers in the plantations that the Spaniards and later the French established on Hispaniola: they resented their lands and children being taken, and attempted to fight back against the invaders. Since the Taino where obviously standing in the way of Spain’s progress, Columbus sought to impose discipline on them. For even a minor offense, an Indian’s nose or ear was cut off, se he could go back to his village to impress the people with the brutality the Spanish were capable of. Columbus attacked them with dogs, skewered them with pikes, and shot them.
Eventually, life for the Taino became so unbearable that, as Pedro de Cordoba wrote to King Ferdinand in a 1517 letter, “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth… Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.”
Eventually, Columbus and later his brother Bartholomew Columbus who he left in charge of the island, simply resorted to wiping out the Taino altogether. Prior to Columbus’ arrival, some scholars place the population of Haiti/Hispaniola (now at 16 million) at around 1.5 to 3 million people. By 1496, it was down to 1.1 million, according to a census done by Bartholomew Columbus. By 1516, the indigenous population was 12,000, and according to Las Casas (who were there) by 1542 fewer than 200 natives were alive. By 1555, every single one was dead.
This wasn’t just the story of Hispaniola; the same has been done to indigenous peoples worldwide. Slavery, apartheid, and the entire concept of conservative Darwinian Economics, have been used to justify continued suffering by masses of human beings.
Dr. Jack Forbes, Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California at Davis and author of the brilliant book “Columbus and Other Cannibals,” uses the Native American word wétiko (pronounced WET-ee-ko) to describe the collection of beliefs that would produce behavior like that of Columbus. Wétiko literally means “cannibal,” and Forbes uses it quite intentionally to describe these standards of culture: we “eat” (consume) other humans by destroying them, destroying their lands, taking their natural resources, and consuming their life-force by enslaving them either physically or economically. The story of Columbus and the Taino is just one example.
We live in a culture that includes the principle that if somebody else has something we need, and they won’t give it to us, and we have the means to kill them to get it, it’s not unreasonable to go get it, using whatever force we need to.
In the United States, the first “Indian war” in New England was the “Pequot War of 1636,” in which colonists surrounded the largest of the Pequot villages, set it afire as the sun began to rise, and then performed their duty: they shot everybody — men, women, children, and the elderly — who tried to escape. As Puritan colonist William Bradford described the scene: “It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they [the colonists] gave praise therof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully…”
The Narragansetts, up to that point “friends” of the colonists, were so shocked by this example of European-style warfare that they refused further alliances with the whites. Captain John Underhill ridiculed the Narragansetts for their unwillingness to engage in genocide, saying Narragansett wars with other tribes were “more for pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies.”
In that, Underhill was correct: the Narragansett form of war, like that of most indigenous Older Culture peoples, and almost all Native American tribes, does not have extermination of the opponent as a goal. After all, neighbors are necessary to trade with, to maintain a strong gene pool through intermarriage, and to insure cultural diversity. Most tribes wouldn’t even want the lands of others, because they would have concerns about violating or entering the sacred or spirit-filled areas of the other tribes. Even the killing of “enemies” is not most often the goal of tribal “wars”: It’s most often to fight to some pre-determined measure of “victory” such as seizing a staff, crossing a particular line, or the first wounding or surrender of the opponent.
This wétiko type of theft and warfare is practiced daily by farmers and ranchers worldwide against wolves, coyotes, insects, animals and trees of the rainforest; and against indigenous tribes living in the jungles and rainforests. It is our way of life. It comes out of our foundational cultural notions.
So it should not surprise us that with the doubling of the world’s population over the past 37 years has come an explosion of violence and brutality, and as the United States runs low on oil, we are now fighting wars in oil-rich parts of the world and pipeline-necessary Afghanistan. It shouldn’t surprise us that generals want more troops (remember psychologist Abraham Maslow’s famous dictum: “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”); the rich want more tax cuts; and multi-millionaire health “insurance” cartel leaders give millions to politicians to ensure single-payer never passes, leaving the average person in the iron grip of the very rich.
These are all dimensions, after all, of our history of patriarchy, hierarchy, and slavery, which we celebrate on Columbus Day. But if we wake up, and we help the world wake up, they need not be our future.
Let’s hope that President Obama brings the wisdom and intellect he has so often displayed to all of these issues, particularly (on this day) the ones that can bring about or further disrupt peace in this world.
Now that’s a bit of history you don’t learn in grade school…
new wolf news from MT:
not sure if the link works tho
That is classic! And hilarious! Only one wolf in the whole video clip, but lots of fat and happy coyotes :>)
Who the heck edited that news story?
From what I remmber and from what my partner (who worked in the wolf-bear projects for 8 years…and recently Layton).
Anyone can come in and view photos either in the archives or in bear or wolf management offices. It is just not that well known for the public to take advantage of this (and if they did and all those folks started flocking in there probably would be some regulation put in place to hinder this privilege). To do so one must first go to public affairs office and sign a paper and then be told it will cost you something (like a dollar per digital copy). Then public affairs calls over and finds out if there is someone available to show you the files. Then when you go over they explain the files and you search on your own.
The employees at every level have this responsibility (to show the public) written in as part of their job. Thus Doug or any other biologist type could do this on his govt. time. After you have downloaded what photos you want you pay for them.
All good and dandy. In reality there is a lot of faith here. There is suppose to be a back up file in the server of all the pictures but what keeps someone from john bad public seeing a choice photo and then deleting it on park files so any competitor doesn’t see it. Yes, if the whole file is gone then the park knows it is not there and can again download the whole file…but one or a couple?
Then there is the question of whether an employee can take “for private” photos on govt. time and then use these for profit. Any govt. employee has break time so the loop hole is you took private photos on this break time. I know this is stretching it but no one can prove different. It doesn’t matter if you are in a copter, on a horse or sitting in a car. If your job is out in the field all day and time of break is flexible then there is flexibility of breaks.
How about govt camera and film? It use to be with old style filming I had to use different rolls of film. The park would give me the 35’s for poacher or case incident reports and I had my own for personal use. This meant I had to take two cameras with me…if i wanted to follow the letter of the law. In reality it meant I took my cheap instamatic camera and film for both personal and private use. Not enough room and any costly camera wouldn’t last long in saddle bags…or panniers for that matter. I had several profession photographers ask me to take their cameras and use all the film i wanted if I would only let them have access to this film. i declined every time. Since it happened to me I’d say it happened to others. Then it comes down to whether that person is ethical or not.
More of the seamy side. If a biologist or ranger gets that once in a life time photo what does he do with it? Honorable says in the govt. files …..then be resigned to the inevitable…… have someone poach it for profit motives. Or what happens it just doesn’t get in the files …or does so only after the favored one or alias “sells” it. Ground photos are hard to trace to govt. action so you won’t probably ever see these in govt. files. Already sold to a “friend” and no one knows.
In the ranger business there were always photos of humans eaten in bear attacks. the ones I was involved with rangers used private and govt camera’s. I never took them out of respect for the dead but others always did. Law enforcement office could ask for the gruesome ones to be made unavailable but the private ones were always passed around the station. It use to be harder with the old 35’s but now anyone in the Park can about get just about anything they want.
I would ask for the yucky ones for specific public interest presentations but then it comes down to whether the govt. employee is ethical or sensationalist.
I always tried to keep any suggestion of personal gain out of the picture. In the case above, presented in earlier posts, I can’t say if all procedures were followed or not but I would hope there are periodic postings by Public Affairs saying this access is available to ALL. It shouldn’t be up to the biologist or ranger taking and using govt. photos to do this information spread.
I’d say if anyone wants to get into making calendars or posters for a living then have at the park files. I’d also say there is a lot of work in making this kind of endeavor pay off. Otherwise it would have been done long before this with Park photos.
One question does the Park, in releasing these photos get any kind of commission? or can they ask for royalties? I don’t remember.
And why are the Dakotas, some of the most fertile and natural original range of the American Bison, not one of the places being considered for free roaming wild bison?
Leslie, there have been talks of trying to preserve a million acres around Badlands National Park. That would be nice to allow more buffalo to roam instead of what they have caged up in the Badlands.
So the next time I see a helicopter near the wolves, do I assume the researchers are doing research, or are they on break and making money while in the helicopter? Are they thinking of next years calendar photos or are they actually doing something useful? Do they pay the park back for helicopter time ($900/per hour)? I think that workers need breaks, but using those breaks for making extra money seems very dishonest.
I think it is time to declare the wolves recovered in Yellowstone, close down the Yellowstone Wolf Study Project, and let the wolves be wild again.
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Larry. See the comment I just put up about this. You can get these photos for your own use, as I said yesterday. Ralph Maughan
I believe Ansel Adams was an employee of the Park Service for several years, during which he made many of the amazing National Parks images we all know. Anyone know if he made money on these?
How park employees used the camera was one of my main ways of figuring them out. Most hard working, goal oriented rangers and biologists didn’t use them much unless they had to document something. If they took lots of pictures on the job then you might as well figure you had a worthless show and tell type….and I’d then prescribe lots of wood splitting, water hauling, brushing on trails…all going towards the front country to get rid of them …the sooner the better.
If supervisors and Mammoth administrative types would notify me they were coming down to see how things were going etc. then the camera was the dead give away as to what their real purpose was.
Out of all those years I bet I could count on one hand the number of supervisors or admin types who really cared what went on “back there”.
Try to show them something that needed to be done ….like they said the reason for them coming down…. and if I covered up the camera with a coat or something (to see if they would forget it) and try and ride out it was always off the horse and back in the cabin to find it.
if we had a back country ranger always taking pics then one could count on cabin chores and trails not being done that summer.
For myself, to think of a getting a picture would mean I wasn’t thinking of poachers, back country users or maintenance.
Columbus was very unpopular and, despite his success, was considered a religious quack by his contemporaries. On his fourth voyage, the Governor of Hispaniola denied him entry to the port of Santa Domingo, because he did not like Columbus. The fourth voyage was a disaster with another near mutiny. Columbus died a poor, dishonorable, and disgraced man and his name was forgotten. Almost nothing was named after him. America was named after a later map maker.
It was not until centuries later that historians gave him the credit that his contemporaries denied him.
Adams was actually hired by the NPS to take pictures of the parks. It was mentioned in Ken Burns show, that he was paid $25 per day of shooting, but his function was to photograph and document the parks
I think the idea of Bison on public lands, roaming free is interesting…
however…they are big crabby creatures so everyone should remember to stay well away from them.
I will say that one thing that irks me about the occasional tourist is that they want to pet the wolves, feed the bears and ride the buffalo….
Its never ending amusement for a Montana girl.
And its a break from the amusement of local redneck politics and keggers.
Thanks, Save Bears. That part I was aware of; I was wondering if he retained copyright to any of those images, or made money off of print sales?
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Larry’s accusations would carry more weight if they weren’t tainted by his vendetta against scientists who dart and collar wolves.
The reason would be private property. Bison are a very cool creature, just hell on fences etc.
I want to clear something up from yesterday. I posted about the availability of photos taken by Park Service employees with Park equipment on Park time, etc. Then I took off for the day photographing autumn colors here in southeast Idaho. I didn’t read any more of the thread.
– – – –
Save bears wrote in repsonse to Larry Thorngren on
October 12, 2009 at 10:40 AM edit
I am aware of that, what I am wondering is were they given a heads up by anyone involved? Which would constitute unfair access to publicly own photos, crediting the individual photographers is a no, no from my understanding, they agency is supposed to be credited, not the photographers.”
It turns out as I expected and as I said, these photos are available to anyone who requests them. That would include me — Ralph Maughan, Save Bears, Larry Thorngren, JB, Ken Cole — any one us.
We could make a calendar, put them in a book, on a blog. I haven’t seen this calendar, but it has been vetted.
Since we now know that these are publicly available, something I had forgotten because I have been relying on Kathie Lynch to cover the Park wolves, I think I will get some to use on this blog.
I understood, what you were saying, the only thing I am questioning is the improper photo credits sighted, it leads someone to believe perhaps, something is amiss, because based on what the NPS says, the Park Service is suppose to be the only credit given for images that are in the public domain derived from their properties.
I Would have to label them as “NPS photo” not “Doug Smith, Photo” that is where the confusion is coming up.
Weird–more baseless accusations from you-know-who. Who would’ve thunk it?
Ralph, would you have access to find out how the photos were taken (plane or copter)? Seems there have been some really high quality shots coming from low/slow flying planes (cub?)…
I don’t know. Hopefully I can find out.
By the way I got some great pics yesterday, anyone want to buy some? 😉
I am not saying anything wrong was done, I am just confused as to why these photos were credited improperly..
I have met Doug a couple of times and I have no reason to suspect he is doing anything wrong, I would just like to know the reason for the photo credits being they way they are..
I wasn’t referring to you SB…
Let’s bring this long thread to a close. Thank you all!