Wildlife Services Releases Strategic Plan
Inadequate funding, lack of understanding and support cited in report
The agency that touts that it “provides Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts and create a balance that allows people and wildlife to coexist peacefully“ has released its Strategic Plan for 2010 – 2014.
They have a list of “Key Challenges” where they lament that people are becoming detached from the interests of agriculture.
1. Limited Resources for Wildlife Damage Management and Research:
2. Increasing Suburban Growth and Detachment from Agriculture and Wildlife:
3. Strengthening Communications with Stakeholders:
4. Increasing Wildlife Populations:
Populations of Canada geese, white-tailed deer, double-crested cormorants, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, wolves, beaver, and other wildlife species have increased significantly in many parts of the United States. The increases have been the result of land use changes, relocations by State wildlife agencies, and decreased hunting and trapping by the public, in addition to a variety of other reasons. These overabundant populations [emphasis added] of animals in close proximity to humans often result in increased wildlife damage to property and increased human health and safety concerns.
5. Increased Role in “Emergencies” Lead to Erosion for WS
6. Keeping Pace with Evolving Information Technology
7. Workforce Diversity in the Wildlife Management Field:
You can read it here: Strategic Plan for 2010 – 2014
Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.
265 Responses to Wildlife Services Releases Strategic Plan
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This agency needs to be abolished. Their strategic plan is self serving and slanted to justify their killing of our wildlife.
Those of us who they term as “critics and spreaders of mis-information” need to oppose them every way we can.
I make part of my living photographing LIVE animals, but they never seem to consider this to be a valuable use of wildlife. You can see some of these “overabundant populations” of wildlife on my new blog: http://www.thewildphotographer.com I am sure that Wildlife Services would be right there to kill these “over-abundant double-crested cormorants” that I have been photographing as they catch trout.
I wonder why WWP has not been on the BLM’s tail about improving conditions on the Smithsfork allotment in western WY. There was a recent settlement that made it sound like a little more monitoring will make things work out great. A friend in that area told me that the BLM is not following the most recent AMP that said they would do a full allotment evaluation in 2009.
I would call it their CYA Plan.
I was astonished when I read the words “WS provides Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts and create a balance that allows people and wildlife to coexist peacefully“. It couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to predators.
Br careful that you don’t confuse this USDA-APHIS agency with the US Fish and Wildlife Service which is under the Dept. of the Interior.
But, yeah I agree that the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Strategic Plan reads like legal justification for killing wildlife to serve the interests of the agricultural industry.
What many people who post here do not realize is that WS has a very broad mission statement all over the United States.
For example they assist the FAA in issues involving bird strikes (or even deer) damage to airplanes and air safety issus- which causes something like $600 million dollars a year in damages to airplanes, alone. Bird strikes can occur at any airport in rural areas as well as the big city airports. One strike alone, like a Canada goose getting sucked into the engine of a Boeing 737, can be as much as $300,000 in repairs. Even that Airbus plane that went down in the Hudson River last year was caused by bird strikes
WS also deal with rabies, and problem skunks, rats and other rodents in urbans settings. They also deal with a wide variety of agricultural pest problems. They provide strategic solutions, research and consultation, not just gunning.
We tend to think of WS only as the agency we don’t like because they kill wolves – this, of course, is onde at the specific request of their stakeholders, who ask for the service. Maybe they need a new mission statement, but abolishing them would be stupid, but I guess Larry Thorngren is thinking more of his own personal business, than the safety of air travelers, or health and safety.
WM – re: “Larry Thorngren is thinking more of his own personal business, than the safety of air travelers, or health and safety.” Give me a break! You disgust me!
Engineers try to engineer a jet engine by throwing frozen chickens into a running engine,so it is the engineering part that tries to make the planes safe as possible. Yes their are many birds that strike planes. But to say the ws tries to do the right thing is a little out of the norm.
When someone advocates abolishing an agency without knowing what it does, who it ultimately benefits (in general without the area that sensitive area that concerns most of us), and then uses that as a platform to get you to go to their personal business website, it seems self-serving to me. The truth is sometimes disgusting.
And, notwithstanding my comment, I do like Larry’s photography.
WM, I think most people who post here DO realize that WS deals with issues other than predator killing.
While the other functions of WS may be legitimate but people are angered about the irrational hatred shown towards wolves by Wildlife Services in the west.
I think that WS needs to be investigated with regard to their predator killing programs and the actions of their personnel against wolves. There are some serious issues with accountability and I have heard some serious allegations regarding the professionalism of some of their employees as well.
Wildlife services should be done with. Get rid of them all.
If there are issues regarding lack of professionalism by WS employees, they should be investigated, sooner rather than later. Hopefully those with the facts (not just rumors and unconfirmed stories) will step forward and make the charges, with whatever evidence they have, to the folks who can do something about it. Maybe you will have something to tell in the WWP/WRF gunning litigation involving the Sawtooth.
From some of the posts I have seen, I think you are being very generous with your assertion that posters here DO know that WS does alot more than kill wolves in the NRM.
The blades of an aircraft engine are actually quite delicate, and the fact that they can survive the static “chicken gun” tests, does not mean they will survive an ingestion encouinter with a flock of geese in the air. And, even if the engine survives and continues to run, there is likely resulting damage which can be extremely costly to repair, often keeping the aircraft out of revenue service for some time. Bird strikes also take out cockpit windows (and even severely damage wings on smaller civilian aircraft). The Boeing Company and its engine suppliers, for example, spend millions of dollars in research on this very issue every year for both commercial and military aircraft.
WS, working with the FAA and local wildife agencies, indeed does alot of things to try to keep strikes near airports to a minimum. It is one of those areas where human-wildlife interactions are a constant challenge, especially as some bird populations are increasing through our conservation efforts. Airports are attractive to birds, and even deer and elk in some locations, for a variety of reasons.
I think the problem is that many people aren’t willing to take the time to learn what the rest of the agency does–aside from killing predators. Folks might be interested to know that the National Wildlife Research Center is housed under Wildlife Services. I know several people who work there and no part of their job description involves killing predators. Rather, they do research that involves understanding the transfer of zoonotic diseases such as rabies and CWD. And guess who sponsors the majority of research on non-lethal control people love to cite? [Hint: it isn’t FWS]
Personally, I’d like nothing more than to see WS’s predator killing activities in the West disappear; and I’m all for an investigation of these activities. But please know that the majority of people who work for WS aren’t engaged in these activities. The story is always more complex then people care to admit.
First of all, you and others on this list who have probably worked for a group, nonprofit or for profit, school, government have all been part of a Strategic Plan process. And, if you have stayed at that organization through the time period of that particular Strategic Plan, IF it got back out of the drawer where it was filed when the consultants got paid, you know there is a large gap between the plan and the reality of how much of that plan is implemented. So, let’s not pretend the WS is that agency in that plan.
I think the best way to have an informed debate is for us get the latest book from the Center Biological Diversity folks, read it, examine it for flaws. Also, get the AR from the WS itself to see what IT puts its resources and where it decides to put most of its money and program output. I have an idea what those two things will show, but I will postpone judgment.
“While the other functions of WS may be legitimate but people are angered about the irrational hatred shown towards wolves by Wildlife Services in the west.”
Its not irrational hatred by a goverment agency, its hatred by ranchers etc. They don’t just decide to kill a pack a wolves because they hate them, they do it because the state and ranchers request them too.
“There are some serious issues with accountability and I have heard some serious allegations regarding the professionalism of some of their employees as well.”
Can you name a goverment agency that does not have these allegations against them.
Look at it this way, would you rather have the goverment overseeing the killing of problem wolves, or private trappers?
WM, if you think that I am biased about WS then you would be correct. I feel no responsibility to inform people about WS’ other activities but I also have not mislead people about what WS does and doesn’t do. I think that in the context of what we discuss here on this blog people have become more educated about how WS manages predators. It is one of their primary functions in the west and I am not going to apologize for vigorously criticizing it.
You should note that I am not one of those who calls for the complete dissolution of WS but I do call for a complete reorganization and re-evaluation or outright discontinuation of their predator killing operations. They are out of control and unaccountable. There is absolutely no emphasis on non-lethal methods at avoiding conflict with livestock when there certainly needs to be. It’s as if wolves are just vermin to be killed in their eyes.
“If there are issues regarding lack of professionalism by WS employees, they should be investigated, sooner rather than later. Hopefully those with the facts (not just rumors and unconfirmed stories) will step forward and make the charges, with whatever evidence they have, to the folks who can do something about it.”
Who are the folks that will actually “do something about it”?
I don’t have the time or inclination to rehash an entire incident that occurred 4 years ago, but reading these comments motivated me to retrieve a letter sent to me by William H. Clay (Deputy Administrator of WS). After nearly 2 years of F.O.I. requests, appeals, being lied to and having information withheld, his last paragraph states…”I agree that this was a very unfortunate incident, and the WS employees have been “counseled”. All this after I was informed that to receive all info I sought, would require me to go to US District Court and sue for it.
These “counseled”, ignorant, low-life, hired killers and pilot should never have been allowed to continue as “federal agents’. (It’s a disservice to “real” federal agents, ie FBI, ATF etc to call WS killers federal agents).
End of story….sorry for the rant, but I remain pissed off.
What I am saying is the engineer of the design company that tries to test every possible accident that might occur. Yes they spend millions, they are trying to find real ways to avoid a disaster, that is what the engineering department is used fo,working for safety in design. Their have been times when an aircraft survived a bird or two,but a flock that is a different story. What should we do kill every bird by an airport, we as a society must cope with nature not destroy it .
I cannot give you the rancher’s name for fear of reprisals from other ranchers who do not want wolves anywhere, but this particular rancher was tolerant of the presence of wolves, and worked with people to employ non-lethal means to discourage them from predation. Then, some sheep were left unpenned one night, and 45 of them were killed. The rancher reluctantly called in Montana FG which called in WS to do the killing. When it was finished, the rancher looked at the bodies of the wolves and saw evidence of needless cruelty and suffering everywhere, and was moved to tears.The rancher vowed never to let anyone on the property again to do any kind of control. And if a pack comes back, the rancher will keep it quiet.
So, don’t tell me that at least some of the folks WS has working for it in the field do not have a hatred for wolves. BTW, I met with this rancher, heard the story first hand, not on the Internet.
I agree with Ken about the need to completely change the culture and priorities of WS, if not dissolve this agency and create it anew. Organizations, over time, take on a history and a culture and its own system of mores and values that have a persistent life of their own, and sometimes the only way to get rid of such things is to dissolve, and by forming a new organization, you get an opportunity to rectify behavioral and operational shortcoming, and attitudes.
If that doesn’t seem possible, then transfer it over to being a sub-agency of USFWS. Not ideal, but I think it would be an improvement.
Engineers try to engineer a jet engine by throwing frozen chickens into a running engine,so it is the engineering part that tries to make the planes safe as possible. Yes their are many birds that strike planes. But to say the ws tries to do the right thing is a little out of the norm.”
Do you even know the full scope of wildlife services activities?
The thing that concerns the bird folks about the recent story about the significant increase in plane-bird encounters is that it will be used to justify mass killings of populations instead of thinking creatively about how to keep them away from the marine areas where so many airports are located.
The other is the issue of migratory patterns being disrupted and changing due to climate change. How do you deal with encountering geese when the plane is dozens or hundreds of miles away from the airport? Kill them all?
Perhaps the engineers at Boeing can come up some sort of protective grid across the front of the engine so the birds don’t get sucked in…
What about the small planes, prop planes, and helcopters? They all need protection as well. Resident canadian geese are one of the biggest problems at local airports. They move in and just wont leave unless their killed.
Bottom line, you can’t protect everything at all times, and there are going to be risks. The question you have to ask is why they are moving in, and what you can do to alter the environment to make it less attractive….As I understand it, th major concerns at at the airports located near large bodies of water…
I understand and appreciate the reasons for your bias against the WS folks that are killing wolves AT THE REQUEST of their customer base. However, indicting or ignoring the important role of an agency involved in a variety of service roles is a bit unfair. Thier role in predator killing (other than wolves) will continue until the science catches up with them I expect there is continuing research in and outside the agency addressing whether predator control really works, and we all have our views on this.
You do not reveal the facts of your issue with WS. If there is illegal conduct by these agents (as opposed to unethical/questionable methods that are the result of bad judgement or poor ethics), the agency response should have been different, and you should have gone directly to federal prosecutors if they would not act. If it was an ethics issue, my suggestion would have been to go to a local or regional newspaper reporter and let them help you work the problem, and generate a little heat (acknowledging that some papers in smaller communities or where politics are contrary to what you want to do they might not help). With a new Administration maybe your pleas will fall on more sympathetic ears, if future infractions occur.
++The rancher reluctantly called in Montana FG which called in WS to do the killing. When it was finished, the rancher looked at the bodies of the wolves and saw evidence of needless cruelty and suffering everywhere, and was moved to tears.++
I am having a bit of problem connecting the dots on the rancher story. If the sheep got out and were killed by wolves, what alternative was available as regards those particular wolves? Did these guys do something different than dispatch the animals as quickly and humanely as possible? Not, being a smarta$$ here, just trying to understand what happened.
I am also going to guess taking an agency out of USDA, which supports agriculture, and putting them in Interior would be a rather difficult task politically. Aside from the other obvious problems, there is no way USFWS would want to take additional heat for directly being responsible for killing animals they are empowered by Congress to re-establish under the ESA.
Richie and JimT (you will appreciate this one),
WS does alot of consulting, which includes non-lethal means to keep birds from airports, so its not directed at killing them all. Some airports are adjacent to wetlands, or in some cases reasonably close to landfills, which attract birds in large numbers. For example, I flew (as a passenger) into Boulder Municipal Airport, in Colorado, a number of years back, in a glider. We were returning after an hour trip over the Flatirons. A large flock of mallard ducks came off the small reservoir to the west of the airport as we were on final approach, and almost hit us. We could not swerve as we had no power, and took our chances. My profound thanks to my pilot for a safe, if not challenging landing. It could have been different.
Canada geese are clearly growing rapidly in numbers in most places they can live.
To deal with the problem at airports, we need to know why the growth? I read an article recently about this and other birds that are hazards to jets. I hope I can find it.
What many people who post here do not realize is that WS has a very broad mission statement all over the United States.
Yes their mission is very broad. They killed almost FIVE MILLION amimals in 2008.
Wildlife Services Exterminates 125% More Animals in 2008
Avian Poison Causes Most of the Deaths, Banner Year for Aerial Gunning Kills
An Interior Department plane (Cessna) from Idaho crashed in Oregon today killing two employees. Doesn’t say what they were doing.
WM, I didn’t say the sheep GOT out, I said the sheep were never put in that night..the one night..and the wolves reacted as predators do. I felt as if the responsibility was on this rancher, not the wolves, and they shouldn’t have paid the price they did. But, the rancher, being under pressure from other ranchers in the valley, gave into the peer pressure. And yes, the wolves were not dispatched humanely according to the rancher who saw the cache of bodies.
As for the moving of the WS, if you continue to buy into the mission statement of these folks, I guess I can see your logic. I don’t, never have. There is an inherent disconnect between alot of what they say they do, and being really in the business of protecting livestock, plain and simple. I think moving to FWS, along with personnel changes which would be permissible as part of a re-organization, would help change the mindset. I doubt Interior would accept the current attitudes and policies, and in my opinion, that will be a good thing.
Thanks for posting the article, nabecki.
As far as the planes go…you are taking more chances with your lives on the roads with your fellow humans with cell phones and texting and GPSing than you are when you fly, regardless of the geese. Let’s keep perspective here.
Ralph, I suspect part of it is habitat destruction..fewer wetlands and marine areas to feed and rest. I hope you can find the article; maybe it has recent figures on the destruction of these marine environments and thus the focusing of the populations in fewer and fewer areas.
Coming from someone who certainly doesn’t consider themselves an expert on aircraft engine ingestion, but having nearly 20,000 hrs in the air, I can tell you that airport location is one of the bigger problems. So many major airports are built in the vicinity of coastal wetland areas in particular. ie, San Franciso, Los Angeles, Boston, Newark, Anchorage. and both La Guardia and JFK in Ny…just to name a few and internationally we see the same problem. Seattle recently added an additional runway in a wetland area that created a lot of controversy.
All these airports have numerous sea birds and some like Sea/tac have waterfowl nesting in close proximity.,
I’ve been involved in numerous “bird strikes”…non serious. Except for jet engines, aircraft tolerate most with little or no damage. The genius that can come up with a way to keep debris out of jet intakes will be a hero.
Here’s an article I found. Quite an irony. More birds because of a cleaner environment and quieter jets. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28679145/ns/us_news-life/
Sorry, I did not read your description of the sheep – wolf event as carefully as I should have.
Since we are talking birds and blades, did you give Robert Hoskins the cite to the recent public trust wind turbine case in California?
Ralph or anyone else who can answer this, some say that the wolves were delisted for political reasons and others say it was based on science. The people responsible for delisting wolves, did these people take into account the effect wildlife services might have on the wolves once they are delisted?
Actually, I just had my first encounter with a federal Wildlife Services agent this past fall. He seemed nice enough but I’m sure you’re right – probably up to no good. His job as he described it (funded by the local airport authority) is to use creative ways to disuade waterfowl and other birds from crossing the jet runway – admittedly a potential problem with a major wetlands right in the middle of town next to the only 2 miles of flat ground for a runway. Long-term, a potentially less costly and troublesome option to employing this evil fellow would be to fill in and develop the ponds and wetlands.
“As I understand it, th major concerns at at the airports located near large bodies of water…”
Actually, “control” operations around airports include more than just birds. A number of four-legged species have also become problematic (including white tailed deer and coyotes). A coyote was recently struck (on the runway) at a small airport here in Columbus.
And birds are not just problematic in wetlands. On a recent flight leaving out of Port Columbus International I counted four raptors sitting atop of various signs along the runway. Raptors gather for the same reason as coyotes: the grasslands created by airports makes for excellent habitat for small rodents. Of course, we could solve that problem by poisoning the rodents, but that solution would be about as popular as Seak Mossback’s idea of filling in wetlands. Again, these issues are always more complicated then people want them to be.
To be clear, none of these excuses WS’ predator control activities in the West–especially those activities that take place on public lands. These activities subsidize an otherwise unprofitable and environmentally unfriendly industry.
I’d say no. The argument Idaho and Montana officials give is that Wildlife Services is a neutral agent that carries out the wishes of the two states’ fish and game departments. WS is merely a tool.
However, those who have worked with Wildlife Services know that the agency is an active player often urging lethal control. Their 2008 report, which is up on this blog is interesting reading. They call for killing what they decide are “chronically depredating wolf packs” during the winter when they are easy to find even though there are no livestock in the area. That is just what they did with the Basin Butte Pack at Stanley. They certainly planned that with many others and might have carried a out a number of “control” actions. Our lawsuit seeks to stop that in Sawtooth National Recreation Area where the Organic Act of the area says wildlife comes first before livestock grazing.
Anyone who has studied intergovernmental relations knows that the federal, state, and local distinction of agencies, so prominent in the mind of the public, is really confusing and complex at the ground level with hundreds of government agencies. So what I am saying fits squarely with decades to studies of public administration and political science.
I mean a student who had taken a class and wrote, there’s the federal government, state govenment, and local governments, each with their separate spheres of jurisdiction — that’s the way it is — would flunk.
Adding to what JB says, Wildlife Services is an agency that is seeking a broader base of political support. They know their public image outside the livestock industry is pretty negative.
Ralph is right; this organization is beginning to make efforts to adapt to the changing social environment. Unfortunately, many of these simply involve “green-washing”, such as changing their name from Animal Damage Control to Wildlife Services, or changing the name of the field (i.e. Wildlife Damage Management is now generally referred to as Human-Wildlife Conflict). However, I think attitudes within the agency are also changing (albeit slowly).
If you have ever been around fruit orchards, you will understand how devastating starlings, blackbirds and other flocking birds can be to soft fruit, especially cherries, apricots, peaches, and pears, to name a few. For years fruit ranchers used “crackers” bombs (basically firecrackers woven into sisal rope, then lit on fire as the rope burned very slowly to eventually light each charge. Then they went to carbide and propane canons, that make a loud “bang,” often used in conjunction with thin strips of shiny mylar or even shiny balloons strung on trees, and even nets over some of the trees. All of these are non-lethal, but costly, means of keepi;ng birds from the fruit as it matures. They also used live traps, or large screen mesh frame traps about 12 feet square that birds could get into but not out.
The starlings and blackbirds got used to all this, as they didn’t scare from the sounds anymore, and would not enter the live traps. They continued to proliferate in ever larger numbers, so the fruit ranchers asked for WS to poison them. That is why these large numbers of birds, numbering in the millions – as you cite from the WS report as filtered by the folks at Wild Guardians, are killed. They are also vectors for disease, and hang around anywhere there is grain or corn. I expect they cause other disease problems that most of us are not aware of.
The starling is an introduced species (inadvertently transported in ship cargo, I think) which has been very prolific in North America, to the point that it may endanger the Purple Martin or other native species, because they steal their nests and kill their young.
And yes, there are problems with the poisons that are used- bioaccumulation and killing of non-target species. The question is what to do in a changing world that demand solutions.
I notice Wild Guardians, in their article, didn’t mention among their numbers all the rats, mice and other rodents, or insects and invasive plants WS deals with. Nabeki, they, like you are, into sensationalism and slant statistics that tug at the heartstrings. Can you , or anyone, offer better solutions to these complex problems?
No, I haven’t read the case in California. I do recall a case I read somewhere where the plaintiffs sued the turbine company itself instead of the state’s permitting agency under a public trust argument, and got it thrown out, basically, because they were suing the wrong party.
I talked with my wife, the real expert, and she agrees with you that most public trust cases are brought in state courts because it is a state obligation, but federal courts are often implicated as well, and those must be the cases I focused on since all I do is Federal Law.
So, my apologies to Robert Hoskins. He was correct.
Robert, if you are thinking of lawsuits to pressure the state agencies into enforcing the public trust on private state lands, it is a worthwhile project, though you will run into private property right zealots and anti-government groups who won’t want the state meeting its obligation to manage wildlife under their lawful responsibility as guardian of the public trust. Opponents have tried to cast the public trust as applying mainly in a tidal land settlng, and indeed, alot of the cases have to do with water-related environments, but there are also clear precedents the courts generally say the public trust applies to wildlife as well.
What would be interesting is if you could force the state to consider public trust obligations as an affirmative duty when regulating the interactions and interface of permit holders like grazers and wildlife. You wouldn’t run into Scalia’s restrictions on standing and citizen suits in state courts unless the state courts have adopted those standards in their own jurisdictions. The question becomes a political one at that point..does the state have the cajones to meet its responsibilities and figure out a way to do it regardless of the private property hysteria that would surely emerge in these states you mentioned. Just think if ranchers weren’t allowed to simply let livestock roam unprotected, essentially creating a baiting situation for predators…..what if they had to take proactive measures as a permit condition?
If I find some cites to some recent articles exploring the public trust cases, I will send it to Ralph privately and then he can forward them to you.
Defintions: “public trust on private state lands” Are we talking about fee simple lands or state land (section 16 and 36) which the state indicates that they are not public lands but held in trust by the state for the schools.
“Just think if ranchers weren’t allowed to simply let livestock roam unprotected, essentially creating a baiting situation for predators…..what if they had to take proactive measures as a permit condition? ” Are we talking about this on fee simple land, such as where a rancher has to aquire a permit to graze on his deeded land or is the above statement about only federal/state owned lands?
I have to go to breakfast.
” notice Wild Guardians, in their article, didn’t mention among their numbers all the rats, mice and other rodents, or insects and invasive plants WS deals with. Nabeki, they, like you are, into sensationalism and slant statistics that tug at the heartstrings. Can you , or anyone, offer better solutions to these complex problems?”
At least you didn’t accuse her of not having a “responsible job”… a step up for you.
Better solutions? Not killing the predators that feed on mice and other rodents would be a start.
As far as “tugging at the heartstrings”, would you agree that ranchers, farmers and fruit growers are just as guilty?
I dug up some information I received early last year relating to PTD from Mike Warburton who is a legal scholar and executive director of Public Trust Alliance. I remember that he wrote extensively about PTD on the Institute for Inquiry website.
You may already be aware of his writings…he seems to be quite knowledgeable on the topic.
It is the duty of the state to manage wildlife under the public trust, regardless of whether it is state or private lands. To the extent that private land activities may be causing harm to wildlife, theoretically, the state should act to try and mitigate or prevent that harm. Doing it, of course, is another matter politically. The avenue would probably be permits or other legal oversight the state has in place. As I said, its application to wildlife is not as frequent as in water or wetlands situations historically.
The conflict will be private property rights vs. the duty of the state under the public trust, and the will of the state to take that issue on. From what I see..I don’t think the state is anxious to take this battle on. It is a tough issue, and will need to be handled respectfully by both sides.
Wilderness Muse your example of the soft fruit orchard is a good one . . but it illustrates not how we need WS control but more how somehow we have missed the solutions to coexisting with wildlife in the last two hundred years. . control of animals is a dynamic chain reaction in any habitat. We humans always pick the short sighted solution and create more problems on the way. Animals groups who spread disease are simply ones that have been allowed to explode due to no natural control. The spread of disease is a threat that humans will put away their sensitive feelings for and kill the offending animals. When we kill enough animals in a habitat we are left with the microbes . .the ones that kill us.
We never even consider the very dirt. Dirt is our miracle here on earth and in it lives water and things we don’t even know about. Worms and bugs are our friends in that they keep the dirt usable. When we fertilize dirt for plants we don’t know all the effects we have on things. Farmers have always tired to control dirt for bigger and better produce. In line with that the bigger animals we can see get out of balance too. We should be smart enough to consider thinking out of the box in wildlife coexistence. For instance, has anyone studied what happens when you take an orchard and stop doing any sort of control . . yes, at first the already unbalanced population of animals will eat everything but I have found abandoned orchards in wild settings before and found that the fruit is more flavorful, although you might have to share some with worms, to that grown in a controlled setting. It is something that should be studied as a tool for our decision making process. It seems that nature’s systems will balance eventually without help from us. That said, my hope is that some young intelligent (I assume there will be these, even though it appears natural selection is not working for humans these days) university student will find a balance in animal control that includes not just moving, killing, or harassing wildlife to get things to work out. For instance, the almond growers in California have put in miles and miles of organized trees with no weeds or other plants around to make corporate farming easier. They import thousands of bees to pollinate the trees but the bees all die and the honey cannot be used because the bees get a steady diet of only almond flowers. If they weren’t so tidy and let other plants and animals thrive in their farms the bees would live and the honey could be sold as a byproduct. In the Pacific Northwest the tree farms have done the same thing. . rows of trees with no down branches, brambles or weeds which creates an animal void right down to the bugs. Then they have to kill the black bears by the hundreds who have nothing but the cambium layer of the trees to eat in the spring. Farming as we know it has made a lot of mistakes in the name of progress. . I don’t know them all but instead of compounding them by making more of the same type of decisions, my hope is that someone will come up with creative thinking solutions. Describing the problem is only the first step to solving problems. . we must move beyond that and find new solutions. Maybe when all the old farts retire, the new group will see that.
Jerry B, I went to the website, but didn’t see any links to any public trust writings. I wish I had my old books, but haven’t done any work on it for a while, so I am far from an expert on the current state of affairs in the public trust arena. Robert Hoskins probably knows more.
Here is a site with some basic information about the history of the public trust (interesting history) and some thoughts on applications.
Here’s the link: http://www.instituteforinquiry.org/inquiries/public_trust_doctrine.php
I do not know for sure whether Nabeki is a he or she. Maybe you or Nabeki can confirm.
Since you raise the issue, I will renew my assertion about whether people who have ever had a “responsible job” would be so quick to criticize others who must weigh in and maked difficult decisions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and way of expressing it. It has been my experience that a good portion of people who are most critical of the decision skills, or actual decisions, of others have never stood in the shoes of a leader. Having to take a deep breath and make a controversial decision that affects many people and their interests (or wilflife for that matter), and then stand by it, takes courage, in my view.
And, as we know, not everybody is motivated by the right reasons or gets it right even if they are, when they do make decisions. I just wanted to point out that being a decision-maker is not that easy sometimes.
I do think the livestock folks, are “guilty” of falsity in their advocacy, as well. In the West, they have vested political power and a perceived economic argument on their side, too. I”ve not seen the tugging on the heartstrings behavior so much, unless you are talking about the rancher claiming to have to put down a live cow that had its guts and anus ripped open by a wolf.
JimT, (and Robert Hoskins, if you are tracking this thread)
The California public trust / wildlife case is Center for Biological Diversity v. FPL Group, Inc. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 1349, which is, indeed, a state court case. It involves a third party suing a utility company for slaughtering birds by the thousands in the blades of its outdated wind turbines on Altamont Pass (a secondary impact of this type of green energy).
CBD ultimately lost the case because they sued the wrong party (should have sued the state after exhausting administrtrive remedies), but they did win an important third party standing to sue issue upheld on appeal.
California may be a favoragle forum for state public trust issues because the state wildlife law apparently uses the exact words to the effect that “wildlife is held in public trust” in the state.
This may not be the case in certain Western states. and, this would be a key distinction. Generally saying wildlife is held in and managed in the “public trust” for the people, as some state wildlife managers do, is apparently a (legal) different, when compared to actually setting forth this duty with words to that effect, in the state statutes which give rise to a state’s wilflife management responsiblities.
Robert, you may wish to look at the briefing as well as the opinion to get ideas on how they put the case together. I think they did a nice job. And if you drill deep enough on the website links you might find the original and amended complaints, as well.
WM, that is indeed the case I was aware of. Couldn’t believe someone from that outfit made such a basic mistake as not identifying the correct defendant to name in the lawsuit.
Wording or not, it is a viable legal concept applicable to all states here. Most wildlife agencies interpret this as setting hunting seasons, bag limits, etc. but there is no reason why with the proper set of facts, good law could not be made. Still, it is always nice to have existing language to rely on, especially when you would be bucking the tide in states like Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah….
The european starling was intentionally introduced into New Yorks Central Park by the American Acclimization Society headed by Eugene Schieffelin in 1890-1891. There goal was to introduce all species of birds mentioned in Shakeppeare’s works. He was also responsible for introducing the House sparrow in the 1860’s. Several other species were released but forntunately they failed. The release of both of these exotics has had devastating effects on native cavity nesters. Red – headed woodpeckers are listed by several state agencies as endangerd or threatened do to the impact of startlings. You already mention the purple martins which have also seen big declines. House sparrows have gone into my eastern bluebird boxes and pulled the the young birds out and killed them. I think it is very import to remember that non-natives are devasating our native ecosystems. If WS helps control these exotics such as the startling, house sparrow, european brown carp, mute swans, asian carp, boa constrictors and others, I say great keep up the good job.
Even the honeybee that is so important to our agricultural industry is a non-native. Some ornithologists believe that it helped to bring about the extinction of the Carolina Parokeet in the Southern US.
You both discussed the issue of Canada geese. Two things have resulted in the big increase in the Canada goose population in the last 50 years.
There are several subspecies of Canada geese. The Greater Canada subspecies is the sub-species that most commonly was found breeding in the continental US. The others tend to nest in Canada and Alaska. The Greater Canada was considered extinct in the 1950’s. Then in 1962 a small population of Greater Canada’s was discovered near Rochester, Mn. The birds from this discovery were used to re-establish the sub-species across their historic range. It is considered one of conservations great success stories.
During the same time period we created a habitat that was much better for all species of geese. Historically the geese went to the east, west or gulf coast to winter and fed on native vegetation. We changed our agriculture practices, made golf coarses, and put in parks with manicured lawns. This was perfect for the geese. Many birds no longer go as far south. They now winter farther north feeding on waste grain, and fertilized lawns and winter wheat fields. The birds have a high quality food source and spend less energy migrating. The birds have become more productive because they are in better condition when returning to the breeding ground. This has resulted in an explosion of not only Canada geese but also snow geese.
We have resident geese flocks here in Boulder Colorado, and you are correct…golf courses, winter wheat fields, corn fields, grass…all provide suitable feeding grounds, and the small reservoirs that exist..and are increasingly being proposed and built to cope with the drought…all provide fertile water areas for them.
So, do we look in the mirror and find suburbia expansion plus warmer winters are to blame?
First of all, I’ll get to the starlings in a minute but I’m amazed you are even defending WS and their horrendous actions over the years.
YOU conveniently forgot to mention the half million mammalian carnivores this destructive agency slaughtered, in the name of agribusiness, during 2004-2008. Their name is certainly is a misnomer, it should be Wildlife (Dis)Service.
The fact all you can come up with is starlings, blackbirds and mice, speaks volumes.
Concerning fruit ranchers, using WS to manage “starlings and blackbirds” is just another subsidy. Why should the American people pay to have millions of birds killed for the fruit industry? If they can’t tend their own orchards without a federal agency doing their killing, then maybe they’re in the wrong business. The same is true for ranchers that use WS as their own personal wolf extermination service, even though wolves kill very few livestock.
So let’s review WS great works for 2007 and 2008, shall we? I could have linked to this but I prefer to type out the carnage.
Mammalian Carnivores Killed by USDA-APHIS-WS
Total ’08 Total ’07
Black Bears 395-511
Grizzly Bears 0-1
Arctic Foxes 94-71
Gray Foxes 2,351-2,276
Kit Foxes 18-36
Red Foxes 2,568-2,412
Swift Foxes 20-30
Mountain Lions 373-336
River Otters 528-382
Hog-nosed Skunks 3-0
Hooded Skunks 4-0
Spotted Skunks 24-21
Striped Skunks 9,069-7,795
Weasals (All) 3-3
Gray Wolves 396-340
Mex. Wolves 0-4 (This is quite the feat, killing four of one of the most endangered animals in America, of whom only 52 exist in the wild.)
But wait, this post wouldn’t be complete without including Wildlife (Dis)Service aerial gunning Wild West Show.
Animals Shot From Aircraft by USDA-APHIS-WS (2001-2008)
Grizzly Bear 1
Gray Fox 15
Red Fox 1,122
Feral Goat 98
Feral Hog 48,468
Raven 17 (HUH?)
Gray Wolf 447
Mex. Wolf 5
Of course we can’t forget those pesky starlings and blackbirds.
I actually owned a small orchard at one time, pears, apples, cherries, plums and apricots. I even grew grapes and made wine. The only damage I incurred was to my cherries. Birds know when they are about to ripen and if you don’t net the trees you’ll lose your cherries. The biggest pest problem I had was Japanese Beetles eating my grapes. I also at one time lived next to two apple orchards and picked apples to make a few extra dollars, so I’m well acquianted with fruit.
No matter how you or WS perceive the threat of blackbirds and starlings it does not justify killing millions of them with deadly poisons. That is simply outrageous.
These are the 2008 Figures:
Pigeon (rock) 4,218
They were also busy killing America’s raptors, who actually eat rodents, BTW. This is just a two year sample.
Raptors Killed by USDA-APHIS-WS (2007 & 2008)
Eagle, Golden 1-0
Falcon, Amer. Kestrel 190-211
Falcon, Merlin 3-0
Falcon, Peregrine 1-1
Falcon, Prairie 1-0
Hawk, Broad-Winged 0-11
Hawk, Cooper’s 35-43
Hawk, Ferruginous 10-0
Hawk, Harrier, North 66-40
Hawk, Red-Shouldered 13-9
Hawk, Red-Tailed 451-342
Hawk, Rough-Legged 19-2
Hawk, Sharp-Shinned 11-18
Hawk, Swainson’s 48-54
Kite, Mississippi 9-23
Owl, Barred 0-1
Owl, Common Barn 302-569
Owl, Great Horned 13=14
Owl, Short-Eared 11-0
Vulture, Black 2,968-3,201
Vulture, Turkey 1,344-1,201
You might want to read WildEarth Guardians full report on the damage WS has done to America’s wildlife. I’ts fairly stunning.
Lastly to address this comment:
“Nabeki, they, like you are, into sensationalism and slant statistics that tug at the heartstrings. Can you , or anyone, offer better solutions to these complex problems?”
Thank you for including me with WildEarth Guardians and Wendy Keefover-King. I’m proud to be compared to her organization. We will continue to fight for the rights of carnivores and hopefully tug at a few heartstrings. It’s called passion. Look it up.
As for solving complex problems concerning agribusiness, what I do know is the system that’s in place now, is broken. WS is out of control and the entire agency should be phased out. We don’t need “federal agents” running around the country killing off our wildlife. Ranchers and farmers that benefit from these subsidies, at taxpayer expense, should find ways to solve their problems without depending on Americans to pick up the tab, as any business should.
As for my sex, I’m female.
Thank you very much nabeki for that list. Frigging amazing. What the hell are they killing hundreds of otters for? Bobcats? You are absolutely right: they are out of control and should be shut down. Let the airlines worry about bird strikes around airports (just contract off-duty TSA agents to do some killing) and leave the rest alone.
Nabeki….thankyou for the research.
WM…..I’m sure you’re a very important person in a very responsible job, whatever it is. You also appear to be a “legend in your own mind” (Clint Eastwood)
Let me also add…..you’re a horses ass.
Ralph…I’ll censor myself…I’m heading to the hills and my “responsible job” of collecting moose shit. Be back in 10-14 days.
It would be interesting to know how many of these, nontargeted species were collateral damage inicidents, example: bobcat’s caught in coyote traps, or otters lost during the removal of beavers etc. the fact they report these numbers is interesting enough knowing it will draw ire. Not all WS services are provided to just the airlines or livestock industries, there are many other businesses that have request their services. I agree that the WS, along with all other agency’s need to reviewed and audited. Here’s what I find interesting, if your were to divide the number of animals lost versus’s current livestock population, I think you would find the % is very, very small, except for the Mex wolf. It reminds me of the discussion Tom Hanks in the movie Saving Private Ryan had, justifying one soldier lost to save the life of 10 or 100. The airports are built, people are flying, there is work being done to help improve the safety of this travel, I for one don’t always agree with the methods, but it does give comfort to know my exposure is being reduced, until something better comes along. Another point: using some of this same analogy, with regards to wolves and livestock, the numbers continually point out that against the entire livestock industry the losses to wolves, predators etc, are very low. Again this is a numbers game, the livestock industry is huge, the percentage of livestock lost to wolves is small, until you consider that the number of livestock raised rurally in Mt., Id. Wy. is realtivley small compared to the rest of the US, if you do the math you can see that a 1% loss overall is small, unless you consider that it’s a very low percentage of owners taking most of the hit. I don’t think those 20,000 head feedlots in California or Florida or wherever are having a lot of trouble with wolves or coyotes. One other example: I know a young man who was raised on ranch/farm his whole life, he saved went to school recieved a degree in zoology. He continued to work for another rancher, until his school loans were paid, then he and his wife bought a pretty marginal ranch/farm and through hard work have made it a pretty nice place. He runs a cow calf operation again all private. He loses cows and calves to most of the above mentioned afflictions, and has lost up to 6 calves a year to predators. This may not sound like a lot but again it adds to his losses. Again the numbers sound small if you spread them out versuses the entire industry, they are big if compared to the few that are actually exposed and taking most of the hit.
oops, divide loses into current population NOT livestock population
Nabeki, thank you for that list. It just proves to me yet again what worthless human trash the people who work for wildlife services who kill these animals are.
I am not defending WS; I am just trying to get a better understanding of why they do what they do, and where they do it.
Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, US agribusiness feeds hundreds of millions of people, a fact that is lost on some critics, and is at the very core of alot of what WS does throughout our very large country.
When one rolls up statistics as you have done for two, eight or more years the numbers look and are big. Do I like the fact that raptors, and certain mammals have been killed in large numbers? Not in the least. But I do not know the reasons behind why they were killed. Do you? Would it make the least bit of sense to kill raptors who are eating rodents in the same geographic areas? Unlikely. So, I am going to surmise there is something more to the story.
And, as for the millions of non-native starlings, and blackbirds that do hundreds of millions of dollars damage to crops across the country, it seems to me that clearly is an area for federal tax dollars to be expended. And, I sure as hell would rather the federal government was doing the poisoning than private parties or even the states. Maybe it is better to trust the devil you do know than the one you do not.
I did not know why WS eradicates turkey vultures. Here is their justification, and in New Jersey, of all places.
Here is one for hawks and owls (Cornell/ U of Nebraska, et al.)
Here is one for blackbirds and the damage they do (Washington State University Extension Service)
Oh, and one of my favorites – WS is controlling foxes to keep them from eating endangered loggerhead turtle eggs (see photo p 3.)
Sorry, forgot the link for the fox going after endangered loggerhead turtles.
I was shocked by the statistics, and unless I missed it, I didn’t see any Canada geese, which folks have been talking about to justify some of what WS does.
I too have nothing good to say about WS. JerryB and Nabeki have hit the nail on the head. Furthermore I resent the fact that one cent of my taxes goes to this agency and their narcissistic sociopaths killers.
I’ll add a likely futile suggestion that the wildlife control work by WS be viewed with a more objective perspective. The numbers of animals killed/removed/controlled by WS is dismaying to many – by the sheer impression that thousands of dead animals makes. As painful as those numbers are to many of you, the control actions of WS does not or has not been demonstrated to threaten the populations of those animals and in that sense the public wildlife resource they come from.
Nabeki’s comment “We will continue to fight for the rights of carnivores and hopefully tug at a few heartstrings. It’s called passion. Look it up.” is an honest and revealing expression of her/his values and preferences with respect to wildlife management and control of wildlife conflicts. However, wildlife management is not predicated on the spurious notion of “rights” of predators or any other wildlife species. Responsible wildlife management policy should not and hopefully will never be based on a presumption of animal rights. Personal values and personal value systems do have a role in wildlife mangement decision making – in the sense that all stakeholder desires are appopriate for consideration, if those desires represent a common desire or will of the body of public stakeholders managers are responsible to. My personal, professional interactions with WS personnel do not resemble the vitupertive slander, expressed in recent posts, against individuals that I doubt anyone in this blog community has met or knows. Constructive dialog would benefit from a little more self discipline in this discussion.
It is more than likely all of those animals killed by wildlife services were for bogus reasons. All of these animals killed didn’t deserve to die. It is sickening and disgusting that an agency like this exists and people like me can’t do anything to stop them.
Jon, worthless trash, whether you are meat eater or vegetarian, this agency was established to ensure your protection, most 3rd world countries have no WS, how safe are their food sources. Interesting, anyone you disagree with is either, worthless or a psychopath. I had a neighbor who worked for WS, it was just a job, good neighbor. Wheat on the palouse, bad, protecting fruits and vegetables, bad. Subsidizing the protection of these foods so that 5 figure income people can afford to buy them, bad. You are obvious a liberal that just wants the government to hand out food stamps and subsistance to people who aren’t employeed. OR maybe just buy our fruits and vegetables from foreign countries who burn and destroy land outside of the US where you can’t see it. Out sight out of mind?? I would rather have my tax dollars go to those who work, and contribute.
Mark, what an insensitive statement. Just because a certain animal may not be endangered, DOES NOT MAKE IT OK to kill individual animals. All those individual animals deserved to live.
Si’vet, I’m not gonna get into another argument with you, but wildlife services are responsible for killing a ton of innocent animals just trying to survive. In my opinion, the people who work for wildlife services and go around shooting animals from a helicopter are worthless human trash in MY OPINION. I am not a liberal. I’m an independent. Wildlife services should be axed.
++Mark, what an insensitive statement. Just because a certain animal may not be endangered, DOES NOT MAKE IT OK to kill individual animals. All those individual animals deserved to live.++
So I buy an elk, deer, bear or draw an antelope license and go hunting and shoot an animal that I am licensed to hunt. What then? Does that not make it OK by your reasoning. Are you the one that is going to decide if it is ok to hunt or fish?
You hunt and eat those animals. Wildlife services are going around slaughtering animals.
Jon, insensitive statement, you called 2 surgeons who donate 6 weeks a year in Peru fixing cleft palates on their own dime psycopaths, comparing them to Ted Bundy or Dr. Mengle, neither of which were hunters. I think you’ve painted yourself into a corner. The WS certainly needs to be held accountable for the things they say or do, but then again don’t we ALL. Next time you can afford those fruit and veggies, and they are safe to eat, thank your farmer and government.
When my family had a farm, we would always shoot skunks and raccoons on sight. Skunks because of the smell and skunks and raccoons because of rabies. Skunks and raccoons are natural carriers of rabies and can transmit the disease to horses which surprised me, but horses will nose a sick coon or skunk and become inflected. This is according several vets. Every spring it seemed that the county had a rabies quarantine because of these animals being found with rabies. I suspect that WS is controlling these and other animals because of rabies and other diseases. This is very good as rabies is nothing to mess around with.
No sane person who cares about animals is ever gonna support an agency responsible for KILLING MANY INNOCENT ANIMALS. As I said, wildlife services needs to be axed.
WM, if your are a horses a== wouldn’t that mean you should get protection under the wild horse and burro act. Your longer a commoner or feral like me, your special.
You are making points that are important to understand and discuss. I respect your expressed views though I don’t agree with all of them. In the envioronment – the ecosystem – these animals live in, there is no inherent bill of “rights” that infers a “deserving to live” expectation for any individual animal. The actions of WS are for the benefit of the human society which shapes it’s environment, including the wildlife inhabiting that environment – for the benefit of society. Whether those actions are truly in the best interest of human society is an appropriate question to challenge and debate. To suggest that those decisions should NOT be based on criteria that address the interests of society (sustainability of those wildllife resources included) implies that our decisions and choices should address a priority or priorities that don’t exist. The only reason we have conservation objectives, rules, laws is for the benefit of human society.
At the risk of taking more heat than I already have on this topic – I think Canada goose control is a delegated function, according to their information. The species is controlled by the federal Migratory Bird Act, under USFWS, which issues the permit, or I guess WS can too.
Because the goose problem is so widespread due to recent populatioon increases, particulary in the East, and the method of dealing with them, not sophisticated or chemically dangerous, they just issue permits to the state wildlife agency after they submit a plan. Although I have not checked on this, they may actually issue permits to Port Authorities that typically run airports, or maybe directly to the FAA. If I understand it correctly, WS prefers a technical advisory and consulting role in some states for these birds.
Then for the political reasons we have been talking about, I expect, by getting the numbers off their reports they don’t directly get all the criticism for making the airspace around airports safer, or keeping the goose poop off of city park visitors shoes.
Jon. depending on room temperature, the paint should be dry by morning. Again I wish I had more info, but I am pretty sure that most of the nontargeted species were collateral. I think WM that brought up a good point, better WS than just private individuals taking matters into there own hands, what would the numbers be then? I have one other question, if the F&G doesn’t fly the Frank Church, would it be the WS getting the contract to trap and collar wolves?
Step up and tell us exactly how you would deal with urban and rural wildlife problems affecting public health, safety and protecting our food supplies for over 307 million people and exported foods, and keep invasive species of various types in check. Play executive and manager. Show us what you really know.
It amazes me how some of you support an agency responsible for killing many many animals. I’m glad you people are in the minority. I’m sure most sane people would be against an agency that slaughters animals from helicopters by the hundreds and some even thousands.
I don’t think analogies to hunting are appropriate here. Hunting is not just killing animals.
We don’t call a meatpacking plant, a hunting lodge.
When we set a mousetrap, who don’t say we are hunters.
When Wildlife Services kills what have been designated “problem animals,” there are not considered hunters.
Wildlife Services probably does some good, but in the West they are primarily the servants of the livestock industry, and some kinds of agriculture.
Because most of the animal damage done in the Unites States in both terms of dollars and environmental damage is from non-native species, I think their mission should be directed toward eliminating these non-native invasive species.
If they do continue to serve the livestock industry, especially in these times of government retrenchment, the beneficiaries should at least pay for their services. For example, we killed 2 coyotes from the air for you, the cost is $500.
Collaring and telemetry of wolves inside the FC are IDFG wolf management actions. WS has no role in those managment activities. IDFG personnel will be responsible for wolf capture and collaring activities in the FC, whether with the aid of helicopters or without.
Yes, I don’t know if you are talking to me Ralph or all of us, but you are right. What wildlife services is very different than a hunter shooting a deer or elk and eating it. I myself am not against hunting animals for food. What wildlife services is doing is wrong. People can make all the excuses and reasons up they want, but killing hundreds and thousands of animals from a helicopter doesn’t sit well with me at all. I’m sure most would agree with me.
Jon, are you sure people who put people, there health and safety first are the minority. As WM asked, step up, and explain to us how you’d manage these. This isn’t the first time you been asked to step up and explain, with no reply Surely you have more answers to these questions than, not killing many, many animals and calling other people derogatory names. If WS didn’t fly and specifically shoot wolves would you rather private individuals, set out poison, which will kill indiscrimanently. I don’t support the poisoning, but leave it up to privates it will happen.
Mark thanks, would those flying costs, go against the 1/2 million allocated for all big game management?
Are you by chance a devout Buddhist?
Si’vet, this is about wildlife services killing animals and nothing else. What they are doing is WRONG. I don’t know what I would do. Going around in a helicopter and shooting to death many many animals is wrong. I don’t think it’s hard to understand that. How anyone can support an agency like this is mind boggling to me. I see A LOT OF PEOPLE disgusted at what wildlife services do.
Mark, if you didn’t fly, which would take an estimated 20 hrs. approx. 16,000$. How many trappers at approx. what $$ to trap and collar the same amount of wolves?
I’ve heard that people will put out poison, but that is illegal; and they will be punished if they kill something off their property. Of course, some will do it, but I’d prefer that to the current situation.
Above I suggested a service charge for killing on behalf of an individual person, company, or similar group. Much of what Wildlife Services does is a private benefit, not a public one. Governments exist to provide benefits that individuals or private enterprise cannot.
Jon, exactly this is about killing animals, the ratio of chopper killed vs other methods I’ll bet is very miniscule, hundreds of thousands to one. It’s only wrong if it’s done out of a chopper? Your are ready to throw the entire system to the wolves (pun) because they kill a very small % of predators vs the total out of helicopters, or planes?
Si’vet, nope, it is wrong period. Doesn’t matter if it’s done from a helicopter or on ground. The end result is the same.
To jump in here I want to say that I absolutely do not support WS in the role of hired gun for public ranching interests or State game agencies in regard to killing predators for simply doing what they do to survive. There are of course exceptions, as always, such as wild animals that have rabies or some other contagious disease or neurological defect which s dangerous/fatle. Keep in mnd in many areas of the country your average citazen just cant pick up the trusty 30-30 and take care of those situations as in times past. I do not know if there are gudlines / rules that govern those type of occurances but f not there definatly should be.
In other instances I do not particularly want to eat bird shit or rat feces in my cherrios so if there is a better way then pursue it.
believe me I have been to many places around the world and it is not all that uncommon.
Some animals need to be killed for economic and health reasons, but I think we need to rethink which kinds of animals, and it what situations this is a public benefit rather than a private one.
Ralph, here we will have to disagree. We both know there are some out there breaking the law, I can’t tell you how much I oppose letting private individuals take the control into there own hands. I prefer flying and eliminating a “specific target” as opposed to killing them all and letting god sort them out. For me it’s not so much about the costs.
Practically speaking, without the use of helicopters we would not be able to collar the number of wolves or the specific wolves necessary to account for each wolf pack in the FC and therefore accurately estimate the total number of wolves in the FC.
If we were able to do so, it would require considerably more time, personnel, logistical resources – and funds – to collect the same data. Right now, I won’t venture a guess at how much more it would cost, but I believe it would be significantly more.
Jon, were not going to agree, or change each others minds so, let’s wait for the next topic. Agree to disagree, ok?
but the argument (valid) can be made that is exactly what WS is doing in regards to wolves.
“Kill them all and let God sort em out”
Very true si’vet. LOL
You take a look at that list and you will see ws killed many animals. You have to ask yourself did all of those animals really NEED TO DIE? I agree they are some exceptions like animals that carry rabies and disease, but killing a wolf for attacking livestock? The wolf is just being a wolf. That is part of its natural behavior. It shouldn’t die just for trying to survive and being a wolf. Going after easy prey is what any wild animal will do.
Thanks Mark, Ralph and I discussed this a while back, Ralph thought it would be possible to trap, no matter how sharp a pencil I put to it I couldn’t make the trapping scenario to work out cost effective.
Jeff E, I know what your saying, my point, aerial killing is very target specific, only collateral damage, usually, sadly enough is pilot and gunner.
Came across this article earlier today. Wildlife Services trapped river otter in Washington state and transported them to New Mexico, where the river otter has been absent for something like sixty years.
This is the second batch they have transplanted, and more are likely to come from this cooperative project involving NM state game, BLM and WS.
It is target specific.
but is the target valid or cost effective? (still talking wolves here)
Mark Gamblin – maybe you should get out of Pocatello and go hang out with WS “boys” as they buddy up with ranchers in rural areas, and all have a good laugh about killing wolves. I’ve watched them do it many times.
The wolf killing road show has a spotter plane circling, finding the collared wolves in the pack, and then the chopper shows up with a WS agent hanging out the open door, killing or at least wounding wolves running in terror for their lives.
WS’s infamous yellow “killer bee” plane (taxpayers paid for it) has wolf stencils on its door, at least the last time I saw it.
WS pilots and agents brag about killing 50, 100 coyotes a days. WS personnel and ranchers talk about this in restaurants, where they don’t realize not everyone is a coyote or wolf hater.
You might take a look at WS’s Todd Grimm’s comments when it comes to egging IDFG on to kill wolves. Todd Grimm is one sadistic SOB.
Over 100 wolves had died in Idaho in the past year because Wildlife Services kisses the ass of “livestock producers” and even the death of a sick old cow that can’t get up, is charged to wolves . There is no longer any such thing as non-lethal, proactive efforts being done.
Jeff for me, as a hunter who wants wolves controlled so their prey numbers stay on the high end, yes. Would I be willing to pay more for tags and lic. and have that money used for wolf control yes, and forego a little cost effectiveness yes. Jeff I am just being honest here, I don’t hate wolves, but I enjoy their prey species more. Again just being honest. For those who feel it could all balance out if left alone, I’m sure it not even close to valid or cost effective. Right. I’m sure if I felt different I would see it differently as well..
In other words Si’vet Helicopter time is ~900-1000 per hour. How many Market sheep or cow’s could be just replaced outright at what it has cost taxpayers for all the gunned wolves. (far more than are killed by wolves) (lets not talk about other predators, result in to many zeros in the number)
just think of cost effective and what the states and public ranching is doing JUST DOES NOT MAKE any kind of rational sense.
Si’vet, why is it people like you act like the wolves are responsible for low elk #s? Did you know that hunters in Idaho are responsible for killing more elk than wolves?
I also am a hunter, for as many years as you.
However this thread is about ws.
Having said that the state “management objective” is about ~500 wolves or a density of one wolf for ~53,000 acres.
think about that for a moment.
A visual of an acre is from the ten yard line of a football field to the opposite goal line and from sideline to sideline; in any geometric pattern you desire.
See the wolf?
Spang -I’ve never witnessed the bragging behavior your talking about, I have heard the discussions with regards to numbers killed vs hours flown. As far as how they fly and kill, it is very effective method for numbers. May I add, discussions with regards to killing any animal in a public place is wrong. I find that just barely above, displaying kills on the hood of your truck, or sticking out the back.
Add poaching and roadkill along with hunters for killing more wildlife than wolves/predators ever will. “Si’vet” is wet behind the ears when it comes to the wolf issue. But he’s found a stage to huff and puff.
spanglelakes, you are 100% right. Hunters do infact kill many more animals than wolves. It amazes me how hunters moan and complain about how wolves supposedly wipe elk herds out when they are the ones who are indeed responsible for killing more elk than wolves.
Have wolves eaten all the elk in Idaho? Not even close, says Brad Compton of Idaho Fish and Game. “We still have some good elk hunting. Wolves have had an impact on our herds in some parts of the state, but they’ve not been decimated like it’s been publicized.
jeff, somewhere you missed my post with regards to wolf control, it has absolutely nothing to do with cattle, sheep etc. If wolves didn’t kill deer,elk, moose etc. add another 2.00$ a lb. to my steak and a pay them all off. I savvy an acre, grew up rural, own a little property. Calculate acre feet of water daily! Jeff 1 wolf per 53,000 acres for me is about right, though remote, the entire west isn’t prime wolf habitat.
Jon, I’m not sure that is a true statement, the numbers of wolves very with regards to whom you talk to, if you can’t get the wolf count right how do you get what they’ve eaten right? Let’s assume your right, I believe there are more hunters than wolves and hopefully it stays that way, if it changes Jeff will see wolves everywhere. Again Jon and remember this is where we picked up on the last blog, where I hunt, the only change in the last few years has been the wolves, elk numbers are way down, not by my count. I gave a long drawn out scenerio on those low elk numbers, if you want please go back and reread, I don’t want to go over it again.
Your welcome jdubya jerryb, jon, Ralph and Marc.
Spanglelakes thank you for speaking the truth about the callous and cold attitude this agency has displayed towards wolves.
One of WS most famous misadventures was “Samicide”.
“A blatant example of the Wildlife Services’ staggering complacency toward their own mission took place, when ABC news reporter Sam Donaldson engaged the Service to kill animals on his New Mexico sheep ranch. For a period of five years starting in 1991, agents made 412 search-and-kill visits to Donaldson’s ranch and destroyed 74 coyotes, 3 bobcats, and 2 foxes. It was estimated to cost the tax payers $100,000 for the Service to help an amateur rancher protect his sheep”
Spang you crack me up, Let’s just wait a little and see who’s right. As for the rest of your comments. No comment. Jon thought we were done.
In large geographic areas of Idaho wolf predation is responsible for sharp declines in the number of elk – requiring significant reductions of elk hunting opportunity that is highly valued by elk hunters, local communities and Idaho society. This is a trade-off in wildlife resource benefits – lower numbers of elk and less elk hunting opportunity that is a result of higher numbers of wolves.
The Idaho wolf management plan sets wolf population objectives to balance the number of wolves with the number of elk to address social desires for a sustainable wolf population and abundant elk hunting opportunity.
Yes Mark, but my problem is hunters act like the wolves are the only ones responsible for killing elk. Why aren’t hunters putting any of the blame for the lack of elk on themselves? Why is it always blame the wild animal?
“Did you know that hunters in Idaho are responsible for killing more elk than wolves?”
Jon, could you please sight the study that shows this is the case? I have not seen it yet, but would like to read it.
Si’vet given the fact that hunters kill more elk than wolves and with the wolves being there in Idaho and having to eat year round to survive, ofcourse you are more than likely to see declines in elk populations. The fact is hunters are putting it seems all of the blame on the wolves for supposedly wiping out elk #s. Why don’t these hunters ever look at themselves for all of the elk they kill and admit they are part of the reason why elk #s are down. You cannot blame a wild animal that has to eat year round in order to survive.
I am talking about just Idaho here not the entire west. Please do not digress in to hyperbole. We get enough of that from the state on this blog. i do not doubt that wolves have an effect on pray species.
The wolf in my back yard has an effect on prey species. He has eaten at least two squirrels and who knows how many mice just this winter.
but you know what, there are still more than enough of both to go around.
Not to factitious but the two biggest threats to all wild life are degradation of habitat (both flora and fauna Mark) and the control of the west by the livestock industry.
I don’t have any studies. Jim Unsworth said this and I believe I asked Mark Gamblin this and he said hunters do kill more elk than wolves.
The reason the wild animal is being blamed, is because the wolf is the only part of the equation that has changed in the past 2 decades..
I am not saying right or wrong, just stating a fact. We have been talking mostly about Idaho, but I think it is a good thing that the Northern Yellowstone herd has been reduced, because they were way out of wack and over populated. There are a good number of other areas, that they are below recruitment goals and the only thing that has changed is the reintroduction of an apex predator…
Regarding helicopter darting of wolves in the Frank. I can’t tell if it is cost effective because I don’t know its purpose. If they find out there are 34 wolves in 7 packs, when they estimated 40 wolves in an unknown number of packs, surely that small bit of extra precision cannot be worth the cost. For purposes of complying with the ESA, all they need to know is about how many packs are there (unless the state is down to near the dreaded 10 breeding pairs)
Because trapping and collaring wolves inside the Frank in the past has been done for at least 30 wolves, I don’t know how they can maintain it is not feasible, nor effective, when it has been done and at no great cost.
Would you please define “sharp declines” and “significant reductions”.
Just to add, I will acknowledge there has been a lot of people that have moved to Idaho and Montana in the last 20 years, but my observations are that they have not moved into the prime elk habitat that many hunt, a good majority have moved into valley locations that butts up to much of the best habitat, but not the core areas that elk thrive in..
Nadeau estimated that wolves are responsible for about 1% of elk deaths in Idaho. According to many wolf biologists, hunters aren’t seeing as many elk because wolves are driving them into higher country, which is less accessible to humans. In Idaho, data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) indicate that only 35% of sheep deaths are attributable to predators, with wolves accountable for only 0.4% of sheep kills by predators. The data indicate that domestic dogs are responsible for nearly 20 times more sheep kills than wolves.
Can anyone tell me if these estimations/comments are accurate?
Jon, I am a hunter, I kill elk, I may harvest one elk a year maybe. In the area I hunt the elk numbers are way down, I didn’t not harvest an elk by choice. I did observe 3 wolf kills. Jon I believe we don’t put a lot of the blame on ourselves due in part that much of our time and $$ is what helped restore elk numbers to where they are. Our legal harvest numbers like us are controlled, by F&G, so if needed hunt opportunity’s are increased or decreased accordingly to maintain habitat carrying capacities. I know it’s not an exact science. huff puff
More in helicopter darting and landing in the Frank. This is not going to be easy or safe.
Most folk’s conception of wolf darting comes from Yellowstone Park, where I am currently. Most the the Park where wolves live is flat or rolling. It is not dangerous to fly and you can chase the wolves out over broad open meadows. Nevertheless, the darter has to step into a special device half out of the plane to shoot.
The Frank Church wolves will be in the deep canyons of the Salmon River and its rugged tributaries. These are 5000 feet deep with the lower 500 to 2000 feet where most of the wolves will be steep, narrow, clifty, with large conifers scattered and in the flight path.
There is no room for flight error. Already one ID Fish and Game aircraft has crashed in the rugged North Fork of the Clearwater doing this.
Here is the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, where some of the wolf pack will be. This is not a brief isolated rugged stretch. As you can see, it’s not Yellowstone-like one bit.
Finally regarding helicopters flying low down the Salmon River canyons, copters frighten wildlife more than fixed wing airplanes. I think there are going to be dead elk and deer that fall off cliffs and stumble on boulders as they are stampeded by the copters (which will have to make a number of passes to hit a wolf).
Jon, I would have to research most of your numbers, but I absolutely don’t agree with elk being driven into higher elevations making them harder to hunt. In a lot places I travel, where wolf numbers are up, the elk are at a much lower elevation I don’t usually seem them there until very late winter, making them easy to poach and ending up road kill. For legal hunting purposes, higher elevation elk have less cover, easier to spot and easier to hunt. huff puff
Ralph, I agree, helicopters really stir deer up. Helped with a fawn collaring program years ago, hopefully we did more good than harm.
I agree with some of what you expressed. I suggest a more balanced description of this issue would be: Wolves have not “decimated” the entire Idaho elk population. But, wolves are seriously supressing elk production and recruitment in the Lolo and Sawtooth wolf managment zones that encompass 7 big game management units. In those large geographic areas of the state, hunters are not responsible for the decline in elk numbers. Woves are. There is no part of Idaho where hunters are responsible for the level of population impact that wolves have on elk in those areas. Hunting impact on deer, elk and other hunted species is carefully managed to sustain desired numbers of hunted species and the social benefits that we derive from those wildlife resources. Unregulated wolf numbers are now preventing resident Idahoans (and non-residents) from enjoying a desired and achievable benefit of higher numbers of elk in large areas of the state – though not the entire state.
We manage many species of Idaho wildlife by desired objectives in specific geographic portions of the state – big game management units e.g.. Where those objectives are not being met, we (IDFG) manage species individually or in concert to meet those objectives. In this case, we are managing for lower numbers of wolves to allow elk numbers to increase – for the benefit of Idahoans who desire more elk hunting opportunity.
Ken Cole –
“Would you please define “sharp declines” and “significant reductions”.”
By “sharp decline” I mean elk production and recruitment with wolf predation approaching levels that cannot sustain the elk herds in those bgmu’s – where with the same habitat conditions and productivity immediately prior to wolves re-establishment, elk production and recruitment was adequate to sustain mature bull and cow elk hunting opportunity. By “significant reductions” I mean that we can no longer allow any cow elk hunting opportunity and less bull elk hunting opportunity than prior to wolf re-introduction.
“I think there are going to be dead elk and deer that fall off cliffs and stumble on boulders as they are stampeded by the copters (which will have to make a number of passes to hit a wolf.”
This is a reasonable concern. The good news is that wolf darting and collaring would occur when those helicopters are conducting routine big game winter surveys. These winter counts are conducted annually without this kind of risk to other wildlife species. We will now simply take advantage of the opportunities to dart and collar wolves, when the opportunities arise.
Well I know you will do this during routine winter surveys as an opportunity presents itself, but those doing the darting will have to go in much lower, maneuver around obstacles while not losing the target. Of course, the wolves will be amidst the wintering deer, bighorn, elk, etc.
No disagreement that unintended mortality of other wildlife must be and will be avoided as much as possible.
MSG and his peer “professional” red necks don’t have a clue on how to manage for elk sustainability….with or without wolves. They don’t know the animal and its infrastructure needs, just the shell that bugles and grunts.
And without this knowledge it is all symptom management.
Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says “where with the same habitat conditions and productivity immediately prior to wolves re-establishment”
Are you saying that habitat hasn’t changed in the last 15 years? Cheatgrass, spotted knapweed, forest progression, and fire haven’t changed it? I bring this up because those things, and some others, have been major habitat changes in the zones that are often mentioned. Also, doesn’t the average age of the cow elk population play a role in reproduction rate? Older cows compete for forage with younger, more productive cows.
You often make broad, vague, and value laden statements in your justification to “manage” wolves that don’t have much specific info.
Maybe I missed it before, but could you please provide some reports that explain, in context, some real numbers?
Oh, and what about unintended mortality of wolves?
Potlatch owns about 850,000 acres of actively managed forest in and adjacent to some of the area Mark Gamblin is referencing, which is interspersed with NF lands. Look on a a land ownership map, and you will see this. The habitat is, in some areas, static for elk, as there is continuing logging throughout the areas. It is also where a very large number of wolf packs are concentrated, according to the annual reports filed with USFWS. A pretty large area in the Clearwater drainage, North Fork, Dworshak-Elk City, St. Maries, as well as the Lolo. If these sub-areas or gmu’s are not currently in the “watch list” for steeply declining numbers of elk they soon will be.
I have hunted these areas, and can say first hand that we have seen signficantly fewer elk and less elk sign, and lower numbers of calves or yearling elk. I expect the harvest numbers when tallied for this past hunting year will reflect lower success rates. To my knowledge there was not alot winter kill from weather the last few years. The only signficant variable is an increasing wolf population, some of which are not reflected in population estimates. I have had conversations with the ID wolf coordinator on this subject.
You are correct that habitat is constantly changing. I assume that you are suggesting that habitat could explain some (all?) of the decline in elk production and recruitment we have documented in the Lolo Zone for example. If so – no, habitat does not explain the decline in elk production and recruitment since wolves returned to the Lolo Zone. First, we know precisely what wolf predation of mature cow elk and calf elk is by following the fate of each radio collared animal. We know when each animal dies and with follow up investigation, we know how each elk dies. If predation is the cause of death, we know what predator was responsible for killing that elk. With those data, we know what the wolf predation of elk of is. We also know what the total number of elk is by aerial surveys.
We know that habitat productivity does not explain the recent, increase in decling elk numbers because we monitor the body condition of elk in these herds. Body condition of the remaining elk herds is good and does not indicate that elk are starving or otherwise suffering the effects of declining habitat quality that would explain a delining elk population. Elk numbers were declining before the return of wolves to the Lolo Zone, but since wolves returned that decline rapidly increased, requiring the reduction in elk hunting opportunity that I explained earlier.
I missed your question about “unintended mortality of wolves”. My reference was to unintended mortality of other wildlife – meaning the potential unintended mortality of wildlife other than wolves, in the course of darting and collaring wolves in the FC. I was responded to Ralph’s concerns that using helicopter to capture wolves in the FC could cause unintended mortality of deer, elk, sheep and other non-target wildlife species.
Jeff, really, hyperbole, please reread the posts from last night. I said “West” I should have said specifically Idaho, let me rephrase, not all of Idaho is prime wolf habitat, or for that matter elk habitat, even if you removed all the humans. There are a lot of numbers games being played, percent of livestock killed vs all the livestock raised in the US is relatively small. Livestock killed vs the amount of livestock owned by the ranchers affected. Elk killed by hunters vs Elk killed by predators, it can all be spun. For me and many others, we just want it managed so we can still participate in what we have a vested interest and passion for. And again, I would rather have the WS managing these issues as opposed to private individuals, Jeff if your a hunter and you live in this area, I would think you would agree, having private citizens controlling any animal species on a large scale is a slippery slope. I agree, the WS needs to be held accountable, but at least as an agency those audits are available whether they happen or not, is another thing. What’s the chances of auditing a wealthy, pissed off, private individual, who’s taken it into his own hands. Again no hyperbole intended. Jeff do really have a wolf in your backyard?
Here is a copy of a press release from a coalition of groups urging Vilsack to rein in the WS. Please pay attention to the list of signees. You will find the usual cast of environmental characters, but I also noticed a rancher’s group as well as more than several broad-based science and research groups.
I am ordering the book today so I can get some information and data. If anyone has access to a book or other articles dealing with the history of APHIS/Wildlife Service, please list it in this thread. Folks who are quasi-defending the agency should be able to come up with some stats showing what their activities truly are, across the board, and where most of their…our…money is expended in which programs. Maybe a copy of the Annual Report of WS for the year 2008 would be good; I expect it is way too soon to expect an AR for 2009.
I also think one of Ralph’s points is a very good one to keep in mind…alot of the killing is for PRIVATE benefit, not public. I would like to know why those who dislike the Feds or the ways money is spent are seemingly content with this aspect of their programs. Of course, keep in mind that most if not all of the public land ranchers couldn’t survive without government handouts, but yet they scream like stuck pigs when the Feds try to enforce permits or land restrictions.
Here’s the release of a year ago….
WILLIAMS, Ore.— Today, 115 conservation, animal protection, ranching, and faith-based organizations submitted a letter to Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary nominee, urging him to end the federal government’s systematic killing of wildlife, including wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars, and prairie dogs. Members of the coalition – comprised of Big Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Creation Care Study Program, Christians for Environmental Stewardship, Humane Society of the United States, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Sierra Club, and Ranchers for Rural Responsibility, among many others – said that each year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services kills millions of wild animals, primarily on behalf of agribusiness. Coalition members said halting the agency’s “lethal control” programs should be one of the nominee’s first steps once he is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture. (See complete list of signatories below.)
USDA Wildlife Services, a secretive federal agency that has largely avoided public scrutiny, employs a variety of cruel and often haphazard and indiscriminate methods to kill wildlife. Animals are shot from airplanes and helicopters, poisoned, gassed in their dens, bludgeoned after capture in steel leghold traps, strangled in wire snares, and pursued with hounds and then shot. Other animals, even family dogs and cats, are unintentionally injured or killed by agency actions. In 2007 alone, Wildlife Services killed 2.4 million animals, including 121,565 carnivores. The agency reported it spent more than $100 million in 2007 to kill wildlife, most of which was funded by taxpayers. Among those animals killed in 2007: 90,262 coyotes, 2,277 gray foxes, 2,412 red foxes, 2,090 bobcats, 1,133 cats, 552 dogs, 577 badgers, and 340 gray wolves.
“Wildlife Services has much blood on its hands. The agency is committing crimes against animals that make Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels look like doggy day care,” said Brian Vincent, communications director for the wildlife protection group Big Wildlife. “Most Americans have no idea their tax dollars are used to brutalize countless bears, cougars, wolves, and coyotes.”
USDA Wildlife Services kills carnivores and smaller animals such as prairie dogs to appease the livestock industry and kills a myriad of other animals such as blackbirds on behalf of other agribusiness enterprises. This winter, Wildlife Services killed all 27 wolves of a pack near Kalispell, Mont. In 2008, the agency wiped out seven wolf packs, pups and all, in the Big Sky state. In Oregon, Wildlife Services is coordinating with state officials to kill nearly 2,000 cougars. In New Mexico and Arizona over the past 10 years, Wildlife Services has killed and removed far more than the 50 or so remaining endangered Mexican gray wolves in the wild. The agency has perpetuated hostility towards many carnivore species, especially coyotes, by characterizing them as vermin or nuisance animals. Each year, the agency kills tens of thousands of coyotes.
“ ‘Wildlife Services’ ” is a perfectly Orwellian name for an agency that serves wildlife with cyanide baits, lead bullets, and steel leghold traps,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity in Silver City, N.M. Robinson is the author of a detailed history of the agency titled “Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West” (University Press of Colorado, 2005).
Robinson’s book recounts that Wildlife Services was founded in 1885 under a different name, and began its wildlife extermination program in 1915. In 1928, responding to criticism from wildlife biologists, the agency pledged not to exterminate any species and stopped using the word “exterminate,” substituting it with “control.” However, in 1945 the agency killed the last gray wolf in the western United States, in southern Colorado. In the 1960s, after Wildlife Services officials told Congress the agency would not exterminate wildlife, it wiped out red wolves from the southeastern United States, California condors in their namesake state, and blackfooted ferrets on the Great Plains, as well as the Mexican gray wolf in the Republic of Mexico, having gained permission from Mexican authorities. The last survivors of each of these species were captured, bred in captivity and subsequently reintroduced to save the species from extinction.
Members of the conservation and animal-protection group coalition that sent the letter to Vilsack said that Wildlife Services’ killing program ignores the importance of carnivores. As “keystone species,” carnivores play a pivotal role in sustaining ecological integrity and preserving species’ diversity. For example, large carnivores regulate deer and elk numbers, as well as smaller mammal populations. Wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park has benefited bears, foxes, beavers and songbirds, among other animals. Conversely, ongoing Wildlife Services persecution of wolves continues to harm these and other wildlife species in the vast swaths of the West where wolves have not been permitted to recolonize.
Many non-lethal solutions are less expensive and more effective at reducing conflicts than killing, coalition members said. Ranchers who use guard dogs, llamas, burros, or who mix cattle and sheep report fewer or no predation problems. Nighttime penning, penning during lambing and calving season, and removing livestock carcasses from pastures also reduce conflicts. In addition, strobes and sirens are effective for preventing predation. Members of the groups said that monies spent on killing wildlife would be better used to educate and aid ranchers, farmers, and others to upgrade their fencing or assist them with utilizing non-lethal techniques. Eliminating subsidized domestic-animal grazing on public lands would sharply reduce encounters with carnivores, they said.
SIGNATORIES OF LETTER TO AGRICULTURE SECRETARY NOMINEE INCLUDE:
Action for Animals • Action for Animals Network • Alabama Wildlife Advocates • Alaska Wildlife Alliance • All-Creatures.org • Allegheny Defense Project • Alliance for Animals • Alliance for the Wild Rockies • American Lands Alliance • Animal Advocates of the Inland Northwest • Animal Defense League of Arizona • Animal Protection of New Mexico • Animal Protection Voters • Animal Welfare Institute • BARK • Bear League • Bear River Watershed Council • Big Wildlife • Biodiversity Conservation Alliance • Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation • Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project • Born Free USA • Boulder-White Clouds Council • Buffalo Field Campaign • Californians for Western Wilderness • Cascadia Wildlands Project • Center for Biological Diversity • Center for Native Ecosystems • Christians for Environmental Stewardship • Chico For Animal Rights • Conservation Congress • Conservation Northwest • Conservation Science Institute • Cougar Fund • Creation Care Study Program • Eco-Eating • Ecological Conservation Organization • Environmental Protection Information Center • Footloose Montana • Forest Issues Group • Friends of McKay • Gila Conservation Coalition • Grand Canyon Trust • Great Old Broads for Wilderness • Great Plains Restoration Council • HEAL • Heartwood • Hells Canyon Preservation Council • High Uintas Preservation Council • Higher Ground-Animal Advocacy • Humane Voters of Arizona • In Defense of Animals • Jewish Vegetarians of North America • Kentucky Heartwood • Kind Choices • Kinship Circle • Klamath Basin Audubon Society • Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center • Lands Council • Last Chance for Animals Arizona • League of Humane Voters • Maine Animal Coalition • MassPAWS • Mountain Cats Trust • New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary • New Hampshire Animal Rights League • Newton County Wildlife Association • Northwest Animal Rights Network • Options for Southern Oregon • Orange County People for Animals • Oregon Cougar Action Team • Oregon Humane Society • Oregon Wildlife Federation • Pacific Biodiversity Institute • PEACE~People for the End of Animal Cruelty and Exploitation • Power of One Animal Rights Group • Prairie Dog Pals • Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility • Public Lands Without Livestock • Ranchers for Rural Responsibility • Restoring Eden • Rocky Mountain Animal Defense • Sheep Mountain Alliance • Sierra Club • Sierra Club Tehipite Chapter • Siskiyou Project • Soda Mountain Wilderness Council • Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance • Southwest Environmental Center • St. Louis Animal Rights Team • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund • The Humane Society of the United States • The Rewilding Institute • TrapFree Oregon • Umpqua Watersheds • Utah Environmental Congress • Vegetarian Advocates • W.O.L.F. Sanctuary • Western Nebraska Resources Council • Western Watersheds Project • Western Wildlife Conservancy • Whidbey Environmental Action Network • Wild Virginia • Wild West Institute • Wilderness Watch • Wildlands CPR • Wildlife Alliance of Maine • Wildlife Watch • Wildlife Watchers • WolfWood Refuge and Adoption Center • World Temperate Rainforest Network
“Here is a copy of a press release from a coalition of groups urging Vilsack to rein in the WS. Please pay attention to the list of signees. You will find the usual cast of environmental characters, but I also noticed a rancher’s group as well as more than several broad-based science and research groups. ”
A LITTLE research will show that “Ranchers for Rural Responsibility”, “Goat Farmers of Oregon” and “Big Wildlife” have one thing in common — someone called Michael Moss that runs a goat farm in Portland, Oregon.
Seems like he is the chief cook and bottle washer – in addition to maybe being the only member – of all three “organizations”.
“would those flying costs, go against the 1/2 million allocated for all big game management?”
Wolf management costs are funded within our total wildlife management budget. While we have a wolf hunting season, the receipts from wolf tags will contribute to those costs, but won’t cover all of the costs. The wolf darting and collaring work in the FC will be partially covered by funding for our routine big game (ungulate) aerial survey project. Much of the helicopter air time is already covered for deer, elk, moose winter counts.
MSG and his peer “professional” red necks don’t have a clue on how to manage for elk sustainability….with or without wolves. They don’t know the animal and its infrastructure needs, just the shell that bugles and grunts.
And without this knowledge it is all symptom management.
If this is the same Bob Jackson with a misspelled name, then how have they managed to increse Elk herd until recent times across the west.
Ralph, sorry no related post for this but I thought it would be interesting to most, (re: jon marvel)
“Nighttime penning, …”
Good thinking, but I am just imagining the response…..
-What? It is my right to not have to do this!!! Why should I have to do this!!!
More nitpicking, Layton. As usual, you don’t address the main points of the release. In your mind, since it is mostly enviro groups, and there is one guy who seems to be a singular operation, you head towards towards the dismissal end of things in kneejerk fashion.
Get the book, read it, and then we can have more conversation. I am sure you can part with 25 bucks or so for educational purposes..;*)
I don’t think it’s “nitpicking”. You said “but I also noticed a rancher’s group as well as more than several broad-based science and research groups.”
You made this comment (I think) to point out that at least some ranchers were behind this letter about “reining in” Wildlife Services. I wanted to check it out a bit — I relayed what I found. Which, IMNSHO, is just another attempt at trying to make something more than it is.
If this is nitpicking I’ll have to remember it the next time I get jumped on here about “where are your sources?” or “can you prove that?”.
I do have to admit that I kinda became suspicious when I noticed some of the other “broad based science and research groups” like — BARK — ECO Eating — Great Old Broads for Wilderness — and I especially liked — Jewish Vegetarians of North America.
Household names — all of them. 8)
The more you type, the more you show your ignorance about the grass roots groups, Layton…and since when does small equate with inferior in your head? Or do you only pay attention to the huge lobby groups like the NRA….LOL…
The point was that there were many groups who signed the letter, it wasn’t JUST the work of CBD…
When you can’t address the issues raised, the mantra of the right is deflect, deflect, deflect.
So, you going to get the book or not?
For some reason, the idea of splitting hairs is bouncing around my head! Maybe that is the reason I have this ringing in my ears!
Test to see if I have been “axed”….
Well, guess I am not, will go back to my other thread! Quite a conversation here lately … never a boring moment at Ralph’s place!
Here is one reason I remain skeptical about wolves being responsible for a reduction in elk populations: poaching. Cody Enterprise dated 10/18/10 – a Minnesota man illegally killed a cow elk, witnessed by a G&F wildlife technician. Down the hill and below the dead cow elk was a year old spike bull with a broken back – shot by the same hunter and still alive. The tech waited to see what the hunter was going to do, but compassionately killed the spike. The hunter (“who had hunted 30 years with no violations”) said he “got excited” and just shot into the herd (with no regard to what he hit -my interpretation). How many of these types of incidents occur every hunting season and the G&F tech is not watching?
Lets take the ranchers out of the equation and see what we come up with. Meaning ranchers must keep their own animals on their own land and not call ws for help on the killing. Lets go from their and why not have cameras on their trucks or planes and watch every move like the cops in the city and lets see how they react to this.
Not quite as many as you would like to think, I see many speed everyday, but not everybody has an accident, I hear many hunters say they would but don’t, if we are to believe everything that gets said, there should be no wolves left.
Not that I am saying it is good or bad, but wolves have had an impact on wildlife herds..
I would like to ask what made the rancher so sad when he seen what the ws did to the wolves? How cruel were the wolves killed by the ws,. I would love to have that on tape.
Mark with all due respect call it for what it is not a wolf control program but a wolf killimg plan,that sounds more like it.
opps killing plan
No aggresion intended.
Just so often the anti’s repeat the “not every where in the west (or this or that state, depending on the source) is suitable for wolves to live.
But just in Idaho, which is about 63% federal land by the by, it seems that ~50% of the total would be suitable for wolves to one degree or another. If that is way out of kilter then I stand corrected but don’t believe I am far off. and with the exception of being born in Montana, and for the first few years, and military service I have spent my entire life in Idaho.
Back to the thread, Again, from just a cost effective stance and referring to just predators, there is no rational justification for WS to exist in that arena.
“Am I going to buy the book?”
No JimT, not much of a snowball’s chance in hell. Why would I?? I’m SURE that Mr. Robinson’s book would be unbiased and the epitome of non-judgemental information — NOT!
A “Conservation Advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity” just doesn’t seem like the the author that I would look for on the bookshelf. I do read SOME light fiction but I have to believe this would be more into the science fiction realm. 8)
jeff, I think your pretty close, I understand your intent, I’m just wet behind the ears, I respect where our coming from, you hunt and you support wolves, I’m not religious but for lack of a better term I pray you are in the know…….. do you really have a wolf in your backyard. Thanks
Layton I have mixed feelings about buying the book, I am a read addict, and an illiterate redneck, when I’m done I can drop it off at Ralph’s you can read it for free, I really enjoy looking at both sides, well over a 1/2 century old and still wet behind the ears. I think that might be a compliment..
“…..call it for what it is not a wolf control program but a wolf killimg plan,that sounds more like it.”
Thanks for the suggestion. I’m not sure what “it” is, but will assume you refer to monitoring wolf and other big game numbers in the FC. In that case, it would be most accurate to call it responsibly monitoring and managing the publid wildlife resources inside the FC. Those wildlife resources would include, primarily but not exclusively, wolves, deer, elk and moose.
“.. it would be most accurate to call it responsibly monitoring and managing the publid wildlife resources inside the FC.”
Mark, the big question is Why? Knowing Butch Otter’s stance on wolves. There is a lack of trust by many on your monitoring.
Responsible is the correct word I agree,but again with all due respect the ranchers make a complaint and you take action.Shoud you not investigate the situation if the cows died of the weather or altitude or being on public land. Ranchers pay little for the use of public land they should not have the right to use it as they wish. “Responsible” to who the ranchers or watchers of wildlife ? We all pay taxes should not watchers have an equal say as the ranchers do ?Or is it politics as usual “big bussiness” big money wins out. Also what about the pack that killed a sheep or two months before the order to kill was ! I believe the pack was the Hayden pack which the killing horrified residents and watchers is that responsible ! I know you represent the ws but you must look at it from all sides. Their should be a public forum to weigh in on this and take all sides of equal importance account.
sorry into account last sentance
If I am not mistaken Richie, it has to be investigated and confirmed before WS services kills wolves…not that I agree with what WS does and the manner they do it, but they are not killing wolves because a cow died of illness or weather..
Carolin Sime doesn’t take long to “investigate” and “confirm” wolves have killed livestock to give the go ahead to WS here.. the death sentence is automatic anymore especially if you are related to Sen Baucus. (Mitchell mtn pack)
That is the way it sounds when I read the statements on this website. I would love to believe ws investigates what ranchers say but I have my doubts big time. I believe they know each other being in the same town,even ranchers make donations to ws I can’t prove it , I do not know the politics and what is involve. If they both have hunting in common that is a start to my assumptions.
Not that I agree with killing wolves every time something happens, I have been on wolf kills in the past, and if it is a fresh kill, it does not take long to investigate it…
Richie, gline –
I think I see a point of confusion here. Si’vet asked for clarification on this point earlier. WS has no responsibilities for collaring wolves or assisting the IDFG with routine wildlife management responsibilities inside the FC. The FC wolf collaring issues related strictly to the wildlife management responsibilities that belong solely to the IDFG that I referred to in my last post.
This thread is dedicated to the WS Strategic Plan. Not unusual, but the discussion got off tract again. I think we’re mixing two different topics.
Donations to WS? WS is a federally funding agency, you don’t donate to WS..as I said, I don’t agree with what WS does and have rallied against them for a long time, but skewing the information about the agency is not the way to get them changed…when I was with Fish Wildlife and Parks, we often worked with WS personal on other things besides wolves, so I am familiar with how they work
I will add, Richie, if a private individual is giving money to WS personal then that would be considered a bribe and should be prosecuted to the full extent the law allows..
Richie, that may have been the Basin Butte Pack in ID you are referring too. – the thanksgiving massacre.
I’m not confused Mark. I am not talking about WS and collaring responsibilities. My comment was about WS and killing. Please see above.
I think Richie may be confused about WS investigating the livestock loss..
As I said, it doesn’t not take long for a death sentence to be sent to WS by F&G here in Montana. That is the way wolves are handled. Not much to the coexistence theme anymore…I have tried to talk to F&G reps here about other ways and means rather than killing entire families of wolves. But to no avail.
For ex. in ID, the Basin Butte Pack. Why were they killed around T day with no livestock around?
Please don’t tell me that this topic is an old thread or you have nothing to do with it as you don’t have wolves in your district. I am just stating the obvious again to show who is confused.
* mark, sorry this is primarily to you(wolves in your district)
I said I did not know how it works federal or not, I believe I said this.
Richie you posted:
“even ranchers make donations to ws I can’t prove it”
I posted based on what you posted, did I misunderstand what you posted?
Yes it was gline. Now I ask was that fair.
Thank you gline four the clarification,it is not hard to see wolves are not wanted out west. Much more evidence on the killing than trying to cope with them.
I have read quite a few articles, that it is happening in the great lakes states as well, they have several unsolved killings of wolves this year as well
I really do not know the procedures of ws and F&G.But what I UNDERSTAND is that F&G makes a fast decision as to what has happen with a heard run by rancher. We would not be discussing this if their was not something wrong with the system.
It would probably be prudent on your part to research and understand the procedures in place when it comes to what happens between a Federal agency and a State agency..
I think there is something wrong at most levels of government at the way up the chain..and I don’t think we are ever going to be able to fix it all
Richie, I beleive Mark can confirm for you. I don’t beleive the F&G deal with wolf depredation issues with regards to livestock, I beleive only in regards to big game depredation. When it comes to Livestock I understand it is dept. of Ag / Wildlife Services. At least in Idaho. Mark is this correct
I’ve been reviewing procedures and agreements between IDFG and WS, this morning to do what Si’vet suggests. I should have what I need today (I hope) to give a good summary of how these decisions are made, with roles and responsibilities identified.
Richie, in Montana, the complaint re: livestock goes to these guys, then the coordinator, Caroline Sime gives the go ahead to WS to kill the packs.
Mark thanks, also would you be able to check, with regards to the Butte Basin Pack, were there some big game depredation issues with that group or other packs in that area. I read or heard there was more to it than the livestock issue to address. I could be mistaken, and if the info isn’t easily available that’s fine.
If a wolf eats an elk- so what? Really.
here you go Si’vet – easily available info.
Since mark is making his paycheck by writing on this blog, whatever info you have Mark, I would be very interested to know what you’ve got.
++If a wolf eats an elk- so what? Really.++
If a human kills a wolf — so what? Really. In some places in Alaska one can shoot 10 wolves a day. An provide 150 lbs of meat for humans and I like elk and like to hunt elk. It come around to ones values.
Si’vet – now you are saying that wolves eating big game is a “depredation”? That you heard Wildlife Services killed the Basin Butte Wolves for more than the reason than anti-wolf cattle ranchers around Stanley reportedly lost a few animals?
ya ELK 275 the citizens of AK have fought that for years. Another place that treats wolves like crap.
watch the movie “Never cry wolf”.
++If a wolf eats an elk- so what? Really.++
If it is just “a wolf” and “an elk,” that’s not an issue. However, if you say it enough times, say 1,600 wolves multiplied by the number of elk each wolf eats during the course of the year (8-23/ year with an average of 16), then that is is different story, and one the states of ID, MT and WY are not too interested in hearing. In a couple of years you will probably also get the same reaction in UT, and maybe CO, WA and OR.
Really? Yeah, REALLY! Indeed.
++watch the movie “Never cry wolf”.++
Well if you believe in the movie “Never cry wolf” then you will believe in anything. How accurate is it for the pilot of a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver to step out of the pilot’s seat and on to the plane’s float , open up the cowling and proceed to work on the engine. Every pilot I have ever flown with in Alaska always laugh at that moment in the movie.
I hope you are not suggesting that elk mortality by wolves is simply additive, and none compensatory. You have seemed sophisticated.
Where would you put the percentages?? How many elk out of 100 killed by wolves are compensatory and how many are additive??
Perhaps this is a good time to revisit IDF&G’s data from the Sawtooth and Lolo? Mark: Have you consulted with the scientific staff?
Here is another tidbit about “Never Cry Wolf,” which some here like to quote with regularity.
David Mech, the internationally recognized wolf expert, known to most of us, and who has researched wolves since 1958 in places such as Minnesota, Canada, Italy, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, and the rest of the NRM criticized the movie and book on which it is based , stated that the author, Farley Mowat is no scientist. And, that in all Mech’s studies, he had never encountered a wolf pack which regularly subsisted on small prey as shown in Mowat’s book or the film adaptation. [As cited in, Shedd, Warner (2000). Owls Aren’t Wise and Bats Aren’t Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife. p. 336. ISBN 0609605291].
You do, of course, know that actor Brian Denehey (the bush pilot in the move) can do anything, including fixing a DHC Beaver engine from a float. Ain’t Hollywood grand for its accuracy?
I haven’t read Never Cry Wolf in years, but my recollection is that Mowat suggested that wolves could sustain themselves FOR A TIME on small rodents, not that wolves could live exclusively off from them? That suggestion seems plausible. If you ever get the chance, you should ask to see Rolf Peterson’s video of wolves eating apples on Isle Royale.
I was jesting in-kind with gline.
I certainly do understand and appreciate the complexity of what is compensatory and what is additive killing of elk by wolves (or bear for that matter). Indeed, it is a dynamic situation, as I am sure Mark Gamblin and the state game biologists will tell us. Especially when wolves move into an area, for the first time. They pick off the weak, old, injured, etc. Query, how many of them would have survived the winter without many wolves present, especially those rut weakened mature bulls, that Dan Stahler in Yellowstone has pointed out. Then as wolf density increases, and all the easy pickings are gone, it seems they go after ever-more healthy elk, or move on to easy pickings in new areas.
And then there is the research of Scott Creel at Montana State U, who says in some areas wolves ‘harass” and make the elk fearful of predationa, running them and keeping them at higher elevations, and away from the better feed, resulting in lower body weights, weaker physical condition, and resulting lower birth weights of calves (who also get eaten by bear and wolves, some of which might not if they were stronger but for the wolf harassment).
It is complex, for sure. The other thing that has puzzled me is that the wolf ungulate consumption statistics are only for the period November thru April, and the 8-23/ elk per year is derived only for that period. We know, however, wolves will eat elk in any month of they year if given the opportunity, so it seems the statistics on consumption are conservative to very conservative.
gline, a wolf eats an elk, I have no problem. A lot of wolves eat lots, and lots and lots of elk I have a problem. G Please don’t link me to howling for justice I can’t gag down their bias hyperbole, (worshipping Lynn Stone, seeing the future in drops of water sizzling on a fire) please this is Timothy Treadwell, smoking a fatty space, please link me to a place that see’s the US including 260 mil. humans, or reality. Ralph there is compensatory, but compare it to the last several years of additive, I know there aren’t rock solid numbers yet, and yes because of the wolves killed in 09 there may be a little down turn, but 16 x 500 = 8000 x ?? why ?? because as I’ve stated before a 35 lb. calf is and elk
WM, November to April easy numbers all elk at least 100 lbs or their compensatory anyway. When wolf hunting, was moved to March 31st the game changed, females, denning and pups, big deal.. Wolves still kill elk May thru October, and starting June 8th it’s elk that weigh 35 lbs. Snacks for about 3 wolves. 1 calf = 1 elk. Same as 1 pup is 1 wolf.
I am only parroting back what Mech says in an available written source, and apparently he thought the movie was dishonest in its portrayal of year round wolf diet (I gather he didn’t think much of Mowat, but don’t know how critical he was of all his work).
I have not seen the movie in many years either. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I do recall the Eureka moment when the biologist (Mowat’s character) figured out the wolves were eating mice instead of caribou.
I would guess the Isle Royale wolves would love a change from those fluke ridden and tick infested moose, which I think is their only meat source. Apples would be a great treat, and my dog (a golden retriever) loves apples. I do believe wolves are to some extent seasonal omnivores for a portion of the year. Isle Royale, and all of its current population of about 23 interbred, isloated captive wolves is its own sick scientific experiment, in my opinion.
OBTW, WM, Dennehy, wasn’t beating on the engine, the closest thing he could reach from there that would have any significance would the air speed indicator, wouldn’t stall the engine, I am a an ex small plane pilot, when the prop is no longer a blur and you can read the manufactures info on the blades, especially at night, it is time for new skivvies, trust me..
My golden’s, loved apples, oranges, tomato’s and just about anything else they could get their mouths on, they figured if we ate it, so should they!
Yes, the rationale for the November thru April months is because it is easier for researchers to find and identify remains in the snow, and somehow confine it to that period. Alot of this technique was developed in the Yellowsone studies. Seems I read a scientific paper which had an entire section on that specific methodolgy, but it has been several years ago.
Good to hear. My goldens love all that, and broccoli as well. Of course, never give a dog (or any canid)grapes/raisins or onions, any of which can kill them if enough is eaten.
Of course I know that, unfortunately, I lost both of mine to old age in 2008, one was 15 the other was 14 and I am no longer a puppy owner…
WM, a simple diet of grape/raisins or onions, could be fatal to a couple of Jack Russell Terrorists. Would the vet be able to prove any type of malice from an autopsy??? just out of curiosity
Save Bears, free, two JR terrorists, neither are puppies.. Actually not free, they come with a reward.. Need to let me know ASAP wife will be home within the hour. Has this thread shyed off course a little??
There is not a big enough reward! I have a friend that has a JR, no way in this life!
Is your friends JR lonely, HANDSOME reward. Hurry
Occasionally a diversion is good, if Ralph doesn’t mind for just a bit.
That is what you get for picking a breed smarter than you and most every other dog owner out there. I choose not to be complicit in your contemplated crime, although I know you are just kidding.
All those bad human foods we just identified, AND tomatoes and garlic I have just been told by my wife, contain alkaloids of certain types which can be fatal to dogs (cats, too?).
I thought you must be jesting or something, but there are folks who read this blog (and I suspect a higher percentage who don’t) who don’t know what the two concepts (additive mortality, compensatory mortality) mean, and so certainly don’t know why they are important in any discussion of predation, especially of a predator that tends to select on the basis of some kind of weakness in the prey.
WM, hey, I seriously trained retrievers and ran field trials for 23 yrs. have 2 in the AKC Hall of fame, me pick um, WM shame.. I am still the boss around here>>> for a few more minutes.. Gline need to bash me soon, I have raisins and onions simmering in bacon grease on the stove.
Ralph, I agree to a point. the weak are probably the first to go, after they are gone it’s the animal that makes the wrong turn. In the LOLO last fall I called in a bull to within 17 yds. He stood there for 15 minutes, he was a nice looking animal, approximately 4 yrs old very healthy, just not what I was looking for, I found him the next day at 1 pm, took his ivory’s for a friend. As I posted in Dec. there aren’t enough weak and sick animals to sustain a large pack of wolves for very long.
My older golden was the off spring of a two time grand champion field trials dog, she was a great dog, just a bit small to be a show dog, the other one was an abused rescue dog, that I am pretty sure had brain damage from repeated beatings, but she was a lover for sure..I really miss both of them, but unfortunately our current lifestyle does not allow much room for anymore dogs..or I would have another golden, best dogs I ever owned..
I’m the proud owner of a German Shepherd (ironic for someone who dislikes sheep). At six she still act like a puppy and actively herds my wife’s cats everyday.
Maybe Mark Gamblin would be willing to give a brief explanation of the “compensatory” and “additive” mortality concepts as a lead in to any discussion he could offer on the reduction in elk numbers as they seem to be playing out in certain GMU’s that are of concern, and being carefully watched.
These are extremely important concepts, and an explanation would benefit all.
SB, I am major retriever judge with I don’t know how many points, If your golden was from FC’s or AFC’s, I guarantee you I judged, the dog and bitch on several occasions. Good dogs are hard to replace.. Still have 2 JRT’s, free shipping and handling.
I still have her papers, I will have to look it up and let you know, her name was Cinnamon Nugget, but at this time, can’t remember her parents names..I will dig those papers out..
WM, I agree, I have posted several questions to Mark, and all the rest has been filler, good chance we will get his response and get back on track. SB send info to Ralph he will forward, I will get back to you. With those type of credentials, I am pretty sure I know who owned and ran those dogs, Field trial circuit is dominated by labs and a few chessies, and even fewer goldens, so when a good “RUG” came to the line it drew your attention.. JB I’ve associated with a few German Shepherds, good dogs.. Probably enjoy herding a couple of JRT’s instead of just a cat all the time. Did I mention.. Free shipping and handling!!
As much as I would love to have another dog, I’m not willing to give up the company of my wife! 😉
Ralph, this may have been brought up before, but I’m curious as to know as I wasn’t here before. Are the wolves in Idaho now about the same size as the ones wiped out in the 30s? I heard people claiming that many of the wolves in Idaho now are 200 pounds.
Anyone else can answer the question too if they want. For the people that live in Idaho, what are the weights of the wolves there if you were to guess?
Jon, Not Ralph but:
The only people claiming that are those who have very little education about wolves, genetically they are the same wolves that inhabited Idaho before they were wiped out..
You might also do a search on the blog for Canadian wolves, I know it has been discussed many times here..
JB, if your wife bonds to these 2 little criminals, it won’t be her, or the dogs leaving. You can also scratch off the company of your neighbors, there dogs, cat’s, mice, gophers, skunks, and your sanity. Reward plus, free shipping. Heck you just live in the midwest, 1500 miles, I’ll deliver!
Jon, 76 to 119 lbs. has been the actual weighed weights I have seen. The fact they have very heavey coats make them appear larger. Most 120 lb. labs or chessies weigh about 85 to 90 lbs. In a few pictures I’ve seen, unverified, maybe 150.. Alot of 5 lb fish weigh about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. I talked with a fellow who lives in Alaska, he thought in most cases the wolves in Idaho were larger than the Alaskan’s again just his opinion from being around a few of each.
My favorite part of Never Cry Wolf is when he broke thru the ice and sank to the bottom of the lake.
I don’t care who you are thats funny right there
JeffE, told G I would watch it again. Had to go buy it. Boredom, Tyler, the problem is Boredom. Charles Martin Smith, classic. Wife’s home, no thanks to y’all I am still stuck with the JRT’s. Gotta go..
I believe they are the same wolves as well, but I see many claiming some of the wolves in Idaho are 200 pounds. Is there any truth to this???
I’ll look for that save bears, thanks.
For as much as you can trust Wikipedia, they state:
“The heaviest recorded gray wolf in the New World was killed on 70 Mile River in east-central Alaska on July 12, 1939 and weighed 79 kilograms (170 lb)”
I have seen a lot of wolves over the years, but never one I would say was 200lbs
the only thing that weighs 200 lbs is what those who make that claim are shoveling.
For example the heaviest wolf from the Montana hunt was 117lb according to MFW but all over the Internet is the claim of 217lb in Montana.
Watch Never Cry Wolf and note the reason why the man character sank to the bottom of the lake.
The official world’s record is 175 lbs, shot in Bulgaria (I think) in 2007. The largest ever weighed in Yellowstone (last I read) was 146 lbs.
If you look at the re-intro records only four weighed over 100 lbs the largest at 120. The rest were 100-110.
Sorry this is so late of a response to your question…or observation…that asks how management by F&G’s could be bad when numbers of elk have increased. I am in Denver with a booth at the Nat.Bison Assoc. conference and little time to do anything but answer questions about management of social oreder herds of bison.
To me numbers…or multiples of individuals… means little when it comes to assessing the health and ecosystem compatability of any herd animal.
To me state F&G’s with their supposed “management” translates into management for tghe lowest level of species existence. I’d compare it to the pig confinement operations I see in Iowa……lots of numbers and lots of reproduction but an animal with the lowest level of life possible. Idaho’s big game management “specialists” are on the same level as pig farmers. You have only a shell of an animal …and an animal with the most basic of all ability to be what elk infrastructure should be. Idaho …and Montana…and Wyoming have pigs and pig biologists.
“I know you represent the ws but you must look at it from all sides.”
I represent the IDFG, not WS.
To be clear: WS and the IDFG work together on wolf control actions to reduce wolf depredations of private property, including livestock. When a control action is taken, it is based on more than a simple request by a livestock owner – as an example. Suspected depredations are investigated and if it is determined that a wolf (or cougar or bear) was responsible, then a decision is made whether to initiate a control action or not.
The investigation is conducted by WS or by trained IDFG personnel. A necropsy of suspected predator killed animals is conducted, with accompanying written and photo documentation of the evidence. In most cases, the WS agent or IDFG employee then contacts the appropriate IDFG Regional Supervisor to forward the investigation information for a decision by the RS for follow-up action. The most current information about the predator(s) (wolf, wolves, or wolf pact e.g.) is included the decision for follow-up control actions. IF a wolf kill is confirmed on site, a WS agent may take immediate control actions without consultation with the IDFG Regional Supervisor.
Not all confirmed depredations result in lethal control measures. The decision to remove a wolf or wolves is made based on the factors involved in each individual situation.
Mark, thanks, is the IDFG involved in wolf depredation, because it is classified and protected as a big game species? Is the F&G invloved in all cases that involve game species, or are they involved in all cases? Again thanks, I was wrong, on my assumptions they only handled cases invovling big game depredation.
The biggest wolf captured since the reintroduction in Idaho was 128 pounds and I was told it had a “belly full of beef” when it was captured.
The average weight for adult Idaho wolves (over 2 years old).
Males 100.6 lbs
Females 81.3 lbs
Ken, information on wolves is varied, would it be safe to assume, that the Arctic, Alaskan, and Grey wolf would average about the same size. 80 – 120, with a few exceptions?
Mark, others have told me on here, but I wanna hear your opinion on it. Some are claiming that many of the wolves in Idaho are 200 pounds. You can guess who these claims are coming from, but I would like to know what are your thougts on these claims and have YOU ever seen any 200 pound wolves in Idaho? Also, what was the weight of the biggest wolf killed in the wolf hunt of 2009 in Idaho? Is there a website where I can see what the weight of each wolf taken was?
As many of us have told you, NO we have not seen a 200 pound wolf in Idaho, I have not seen one in Montana, I have not seen one in Wyoming and I have not seen one in Canada or Alaska, I can say, I have never ran into ANYONE who has seen a 200 pound wolf!
As far as websites, I have not seen a full report on the past hunting season for either state yet, and I seriously doubt they are going to list the weights of every wolf taken, far to much time and money to compile those types of statistics…normally when a large animal is taken, it is the hunter that weighs it and reports it..
Save bears, I understand that. I am asking Mark this since he works for Idaho fish & game. I understand you and others have already told me. I wanna get his opinion.
Save bears, Montana did it.
Scratch that, I didn’t take the time to read that website all the way thru. You are indeed right savebears. My mistake. That website just says the weight of the biggest wolf taken.
I did work as a biologist for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, but I no longer speak in an official capacity, as I don’t work for them anylonger, but I do try to keep apprised of the various situations and issues that arise. The wolf size issue has been going on as long at the reintroduction with quite a bit of mis-information floating around.
My limited knowledge of wolf weights matches the numbers Ken, SB and others have offered in this discussion. I have no knowledge of wolves over 200 lbs in Idaho.
The Basin Butte pack removal order was based on chronic livestock depredations over a period of two years – 14 total depredation incidents with the loss of 50 cattle and sheep. Ten of those incidents occurred on private property. Control efforts began with non-lethal methods, increased to removal of individual wolves and culminated with the order to remove the pack.
These actions were solely based on depredation of private property – livestock. Predation of other wildlife by these wolves was not a factor in the depredation control decisions.
It is important to note that these facts have been strongly challenged by Lynne Stone, who followed the pack for several years. Most of the 50 were sheep in a instance where another wolf pack was, according to her, the likely pack responsible.
Although we eventually had our disagreements and we disassociated ourselves from her effort in the summer of ’08, we did help her haze the pack away from livestock. My view is to say the ranchers did anything to prevent losses is an understatement. Other folks helped Stone keep the livestock and wolves apart.
The same was true of other packs in the Sawtooth Valley area, the owners of livestock took no precautions. They did not help, despite people who were volunteering to keep wolves around from the unattended cattle.
It is also important to note that while some of these incidents happened on private land, they are but small patches surrounded by large areas of public land. It is quite a bit different that a wolf walking 5 miles across private property and killing something.
The Sawtooth National Recreation area was established to promote and conserve recreation, wildlife and scenery, with livestock grazing legally relegated to a secondary use. But it hasn’t turned out that way on the ground.
Wildlife Services and the Forest Service have now been called to account for this in federal court on behalf of the salmon, steelhead, elk, deer, bears, mountain goats, and yes, wolves.
More on the Sawtooth National Recreation area wolves,
Many wolf packs have formed in the area since the first one, the Stanley Pack, in the late 1990s. Ever one has been wiped out because of alleged killing of livestock.
It is argued that new packs will come in, but will they, given the heavy quota Idaho Fish and Game has imposed on the general area surrounding the SNRA?
More important than wolves, however, is the continued stomping of the fisheries, the destruction of the meadows and upland slopes by cattle and sheep. In addition local residents have to fence their properties to keep cattle out, and I have witnessed, and in fact was injured while hazing cattle out of private property in the area.
I will give SiVet credit for reading the book and saying there are two sides. I gagged when I read O”Reilly’s latest book, but feel it is important to know how the other side sees things, although I have more respect for folks on the right like David Brooks, and it was a loss when William Buckley passed. I didn’t agree with him, but his was a reasoned approach to conservatism, unlike folks like Beck and Rush.
You..you choose ignorance, and prejudgment. As I said, if you can show me another book on WS, by all means, let’s have it. But how can you judge the efficacy of a book unless you read it, check the footnotes, or sources, etc.
Oh, I know, you “grok” it, right? ~S~
Seattle had another wildlife event near Discovery Park, the same place, and less than a mile from the Space Needle, where a cougar was trapped about two months ago. Seems this coyote, and a few of his buddies, have been making meals of expensive neighborhood pets in Magnolia, a very ritzy part of town.
It is one more coyote statistic for Nabeki to add for next year’s WS tally. WA Dept. of Wildlife called in WS to do the work. It is representative of the thousands of mundane, but necessary, wildlife tasks that WS conducts in cities, towns, and airports, as well as rural residences, farms and ranches all across America (in addition, of course, to those pesky public lands ranchers in the West).
And, yes, I am sad for the coyote.
here is the link:
Hey, I read some things that I know going in I don’t agree with — Marx and Lenin were a couple of authors that college professors seemed to think everyone (students anyway) should read.
But after awhile, when you see the credits for the author and you have already choked through some of the same ilk, it becomes an excercise in futility – or maybe stupidity to read another just like the others.
Why should I donate money to a cause I disagree with just to prove again what I knew going in?? You call it ignorance, I just call it common sense.
I’m sure Robinson could use the money, but probably not for a cause that I would favor anyway.
I have read enough of Michael Robinson’s press releases for Center for Biological Diversity to make up my mind that he is a very good self-promoter. He is also adept at overstatement of an issue. It would not surprise me to see that he does the same thing in his longer writings on wolves and WS.
Polarization is what sells books. It happens when you oversimplify a complex issue and don’t want to tell the other side of the story. I think he is a capable personality to fan the fire.
Would I read the book? Probably. Would I buy it? No.
SB, SI’VET, Ken, Ralph, I was wondering if you have seen about this story? Any thoughts on it?
I can’t find whether or not if that is the real weight. I know sometimes wolves tend to look bigger in weight when they are actually not.
Looks like Photo shop to me, but maybe.
More importantly, why would you shoot it?
gline, I didn’t shoot it. I’m not a hunter. I asked some of the people on here a few days ago how big wolves get. I was just curious what people on here think of this supposed 200-235 pound wolf and whether they believe it is indeed that big? I love wolves gline.
Oh, I have no idea why anyone would shoot it. There is a legal hunting season on them, so some hunters don’t mind shooting wolves I guess.
I didn’t think you shot it Jon. I know you love wolves gline, I read your posts.
My question (why shoot it?) is really to illustrate a point-
*love wolves, jon, I mean! sorry jumped the gun!
I read that wrong then. LOL Sorry about that. I jump the gun a bit myself. I need to stop doing that. 🙂
Ya, but at the same time, don’t want to lose your Hootspa!
I have seen it many times, it is a hoax, the image has been photoshoped, I will look around to see if I can find the website that states such.
Thank you very much sb. If you find anything on it, let me know on here.