Have you run across any interesting news, February 20 to the 28th

Note that this replaces the second edition. That edition can be found slowly moving down into the “bowels” of the blog.





  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I hadn’t put this up as a full post because appears to me to hardly be Obama’s. It is a list leaked from deep in Interior. Someone send it to Bishop, one of the Utah crazies, so he could whip up anti-fed sentiment among the Republican elite that rule the Beehive state.

    The areas are good though.

  2. john philip Avatar
    john philip

    I thought this one from the Sac Bee about the Center for Biological Diversity’s suit against the California Department of Fish and Game was pretty interesting: http://www.sacbee.com/288/story/2527498.html – Most of the presumably local comments are appalling, but the establishment of non-native fish is a problem all over the country.

  3. timz Avatar

    I wonder how many wolves kill 72 elk in their lifetimes?

  4. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Of the list of Monuments, Vermillion Basin is quite worthy. Partial viewing can be had from A BLM road high on the slopes of Vermillion Bluffs and then only after the spring mud has dried. It also can be accessed from the north via old unmaintained roads that can result in a long, unwanted campout. There is an unsubstantiated rumor that Vermillion is also slated for wilderness.

  5. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Jaguar Macho B captured a year ago
    Tim Steller | Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:51 am



    It was a year ago yesterday, Feb. 18 2009, that the jaguar Macho B was found trapped in a leg snare set by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    A year ago today, endangered species coordinator Terry Johnson announced the capture and collaring at a meeting of the Jaguar Conservation Team (see pdf), and Game and Fish put out a celebratory press release.

    End Quote}

  6. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I just looked at the photo of Macho B on the link you provided. He is in remarkably good condition. Somehow it doesn’t look like he was suffering from old age and kidney disfunction as the Arizona fish and game would have believe does he?

  7. Salle Avatar

    Oh my, check this story…

    Sam Hamilton, Fish and Wildlife official, remembered as ‘visionary’

    Hamilton took over the leadership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September. He was previously the regional director of the 10-state Southeast region for the agency. He was charged with a $484 million budget and oversight over more than 350 threatened and endangered species and 128 national wildlife refuges, according to the agency’s Web site.


  8. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Question – does anyone have a climate information source they feel is honest/reliable that they could recommend? Just found out that a study on sea level rise in Nature Geoscience had to be retracted and it had supposedly confirmed an IPCC study. Any thoughts on a source we can trust?

  9. Maska Avatar

    TWB: I have some confidence in http://www.realclimate.org, but some of the discussions go way, way over my head. Usually there’s a fairly accessible posting, with the really technical stuff showing up in the comments.

  10. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Maska – thanks

  11. Mike Avatar

    Ok, this might not be a news story. but I *know* readers of this site will find it an interesting story:


    It’s pretty rare to see a golden eagle in Illinois. But how about a golden eagle attacking a full grown deer in Illinois?

  12. vickif Avatar

    The Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service died over the weekend, while skiing in CO, of an appearant heart attack…..fyi.
    Now who will take the post? Any guesses?

  13. vickif Avatar

    This is the link to the Washington Post article regarding Hamilton’s death.

  14. JimT Avatar

    Article about expecting a decision on listing the sage grouse this week….Could make the spotted owl listing look like small potatoes with its ramifications for just about every industry group.


  15. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules


    Here is an article that CA is considering a bill to make convicted animal abusers to register just like a sex offender! Yeah!!! I hope it pass’s! Abuse an animal and carry that around with you, good thing!

  16. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    If you are anti-wolf and lurking here do not watch this. you could quite possibly become conflicted as to what really happens in nature and even have to add another anti (fill in the blank) to your conspiracy theories. (remember this is another ESA success story)

  17. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Is it not currently protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act? Was the golden eagle ever listed under the ESA?

    Interesting video – Where in Europe? Pyrenees Mts perhaps?

  18. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads

    Nature Rules,

    I read where animal abusers often “graduate” to human abuse, tho I don’t think human abusers are necessarily also animal abusers.

  19. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Golden Eagles are protected by Federal law, and were once considered extinct east of the Mississippi River. They are endangered in Eurasia.

    Ya maybe Spain. there are a great many similar videos out there from all over the world. this one I just thought to be a bit more interesting.

  20. mikarooni Avatar

    I can’t claim to be as pacifist as The Lord would want. But, the truth is that any routinely repeated violence serves to desensitize a person, widening the internal mental pathways to make progressing to the next level of violence that much easier, which is why the unnecessary and purely elective forms of thrill killing, particularly including “hobby trapping,” are not what we, as a society, ought to encourage.

  21. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Locker plant operators have some of the highest divorce, abuse and suicide rates of all professions….all I’d say because they do not understand their relationship with the animals they kill.

    As for numbing affect I worked a couple college summers for a large animal pharm company…where we held down and sucked blood out of the hearts of hundreds of cats every two weeks, slit the throats of hundreds of 90# pigs all hung up in a line for a hundred yards, drilled holes in the skulls of 5000 goats to inject rabies and bled to death countless numbers of cattle.

    As to how it affected those doing this with me it depended on their upbringing. The permanents, guys there for 30 years pretty much were either Nazi guard concentration camp tunnel looked (eyes staring straight ahead) or walked around checking every gate 3-4 times …in the course of less than an hour. It was close the gate, walk 50 feet, turn around quickly and go back and check the gate again to make sure they had not forgot to latch it. Then walk away slowly then close other gates in the alleyway…then go back and check the whole line again. After break it was them going back still again to check just once more to really be sure they hadn’t missed any latches.

    I’d say the same behaviors manifested itself in those operating the concentration camps for any length of time. Talk of numbing, this isn’t even the word for it…it was zombie land. I doubt any of these lifers even had the energy to be abusive at home.

  22. jon Avatar


    Senate resolution calls for multi-state cooperation on wolves
    By Brad Iverson-Long
    February 22nd, 2010

    Wolves in Idaho
    A Senate panel approved a resolution Monday asking Idaho state agencies to work with other states on wolf management issues. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) supports the measure calling for cooperation with the Office of Species Conservation to take the lead in arranging meetings with similar agencies in other states.

    “The resolution encourages collaboration and we’re already trying to accomplish that,” said Sharon Kiefer, IDFG’s policy director. “It certainly helps with prioritizing our responsibilities.” IDFG manages Idaho’s wolf population and the state’s wolf hunt. Kiefer said the IDFG meets every year with similar agencies in Wyoming and Montana, with wolves being one topic of conversation. The state has also contacted Alaska on dealing with wolf issues related to the federal government, and has contacted other states and Canadian provinces in the West.

    “I kind of appreciate looking down the road and collaborating with other states around us and doing a better job,” said Sen. Charles Coiner, R-Twin Falls. The Senate Resources and Environment Committee approved the non-binding resolution without dissent. Committee chairman Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, is sponsoring the measure, which he will present to the full Senate.

    The resolution says that lawsuits involving wolves has cost Idaho and other states a significant amount of money, time, and resources, and that the actions of one state can affect nearby states. Read the full resolution here.

  23. Patrick Avatar

    A mountain lion was shot on a Nebraska ranch due to its proximity to humans and livestock. Frustrating that the standard for killing these animals is so low in the state.

  24. Mal Adapted Avatar
    Mal Adapted

    Feb. 22:

    3 Calif. condors die of lead poisoning in Arizona


    “FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Three rare California condors in northern Arizona died last month because they ingested lead pellets while feeding on carrion, according to test results released Monday.”

    “That the birds were foraging in southern Utah presents a challenge for recovery program officials, who now must convince hunters there to stop using lead ammunition.”

  25. Mal Adapted Avatar
    Mal Adapted

    Talks with Bears: I second Maska’s endorsement of RealClimate.org. The bloggers are all working climate scientists. The comment policy keeps politics to a minimum, although some commenters can get pretty rough with each other.

    The other site I recommend is SkepticalScience.com. Besides regular blog posts, they feature a page listing common climate-contrarian objections to the scientific consensus, along with refutations of the contrarians, including citations to peer-reviewed literature.

  26. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Tiger farms. There is a long article today on CNN-online on this controversial subject:
    There was a thread on this blog in 2008 dealing with a planned tiger farm in the US.

  27. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Mal – I would agree about realclimate – since Maska gave me the heads up I have had a chance to check it out and it is a good one. Thanks for the info on SkepticalScience

  28. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules

    Mal Adapted, I live in AZ and have brought the subject up with hunters I know asking them to use non lead bullets to save our wild life, the answer I got from all is go to H—! they do not want to spend more money for them and they hate CA non lead rules. AZ is a state that the hunters could care less about what they do not kill and put on the table. If they put it on the table, most just hang the heads on their walls. It is sad, but unless AZ makes a law (most will not adhere anyway) this will continue when CA wild life comes to AZ. And F & g and WLS here never monitor anything.

  29. cc Avatar

    Nature Rules,
    The article clearly states that the 3 condors were foraging in southern UT where the lead awareness is just beginning. And it also clearly states a 80-90% success rate in AZ for getting hunters to use non-lead ammunition over the last few years.

  30. cc Avatar

    “Wolf Wars” by Doug Chadwick, National Geographic magazine, March 2010:


  31. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads


    I liked to read this. Up-to-date.

    Wolves might have been human’s most direct competitor for meat for a long time (it says that in the Nat’l Geo) story.

    Not now. Not for 100 years.

    Wolf haters are a hundred years out of time. Wolves adapt. People are supposed to be just a tiny bit more able to change. Maybe wolf haters are people who are just not able to change the way they think!

  32. Cris Waller Avatar


    “Wolves in Idaho may soon have more reason to hide during hunting season.

    The Idaho House voted to approve HB 463 Monday which, if enacted, would allow out-of-state hunters the ability to shoot and kill wolves using their deer or elk tags after an “unsuccessful hunt.” The state already allows hunters who fail to bag a deer or elk to kill mountain lions and bears using their previously-purchased elk and deer tags.”

  33. Virginia Avatar

    I have a personal story to tell – bear with me! My son lives in Las Vegas (the place everyone loves to hate.) He lives near an area where there is some undeveloped land (imagine that!). He walks his dog out in this area and for the past year he has been watching a burrowing owl that he sees nearly every day (named “Woody”). Nature is a very tiny commodity in this area and since he is from Wyoming, he misses the nature that abounds here. The other day he called me and said that it looked like some construction was going to be started in the undeveloped land and he feared for the life of Woody. He contacted the Southern Nevada Fish and Game and told them his story. The Fish and Game biologist wanted to meet with him and have him show her where the owl lived. They met out there today, and a Clark County employee showed up as well. Woody was there and the Fish and Game biologist saw and photographed the owl. She told my son that they are going to make sure that no construction will be done anywhere near Woody’s burrow and thanked him telling him that he had made a difference. He told her his parents are environmentalists from Wyoming and he had been taught to love and appreciate Nature! I am so proud of him and so happy that Woody’s home will not be bulldozed. Thanks for listening to my story.

  34. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules

    CC, I live here, I guess the 25-30 folks must be in the 20% that won’t do it. Do you believe everything an article says??? Call a few gun shops in AZ and ask them how much non lead bullets they sell, some do not even carry them….

  35. Elk275 Avatar

    Nature rules

    Non leaded bullets are loaded and sold in a very limited numbers and they are expensive. Until this year only Barnes manufacture pure copper/non leaded bullets and they are generally for land loaders as commercial loads were very limited and in a limited number of calipers. Copper bullets can increase pressure very easy if the loader in not knowledgeable. Copper bullets also will not open up if there is a slight indentation on the forward petals. Barnes copper bullets are very accurate.

    The newer lead bullets are bonded with 95% weight retention. I do not think that a hunter hunting deer, sheep or elk with a copper jacketed bonded lead bullet retaining 95% weigh passing through an animal is a worry. The 5% that is not retained will be shed on the entrance side in the muscle and the carcass is going to be removed from the kill site.

    In time copper bullets will become more acceptable and available. Both Hornaday and Nosler have introduce no lead bullets this year in a limited selection.

  36. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Cris Waller
    It would seem that the Idaho state legislators would want the out of state hunters to buy wolf, cougar and bear tags for the money they would add to the IDFG operating budget.
    I would worry about outfitters doing the killing of the predators after their unsuccessful clients had gone home and left their unused deer and elk tags with the outfitter. I know of an outfitter who was caught using the tags of his unsuccessful clients to fill his cold barn with poached deer and elk carcasses.

  37. dewey Avatar

    Wolves may be returning to northwest Colorado; enough so to be breeding and having pups. The large High Lonesome Ranch between Grand Junction and Rangely has hired researchers, and generally is supportive of all wildlife including wolves, with requisite but healthy skepticism. It’s the cover story in the current High Country News, by the always incisive science writer Michelle Nijhuis.


    Comment: If only I could get Wyoming ranchers to read this and respond accordingly. I live in Cody , which is sorta Ground Zero for anti-wolf sentiment in this regressive state.

  38. Devin Avatar

    Here’s a thread from Feb 8th on that same story 🙂

  39. Virginia Avatar

    Please go to Dailykos website – once again RL Miller’s “Hike On” discusses “Tarring Obama for a federal land grab that wasn’t.” I believe this was discussed on another thread. Evidently, this scare was initiated at Fix News.

  40. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads

    I haven’t read the Daily Kos article yet, but earlier we commented on this. There was a debate whether it came as a Salazar thing or was it a Republican mole?

    I think a mole. It is just like what goes on between the party outside the White House and those that are in — “leaks” to embarrass.

    Why we even get that kind of thing here. 😉

  41. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads

    This kind of thing has been going on since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

    Hatch, Bennett seek to block more Utah national monuments. By Lee Davidson. Deseret News

    Lucky all of these have been defeated over last century except for Wyoming got one thru in 1950 or so. It’s always the big bad federal government, the President, trying to block some local interest that fails to understand they have some really nice stuff in their state that is important to the whole country.

  42. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads

    Jeff E,

    I think polar bears are a lot less adaptable than grizzlies. I’m not surprised.

    Thx for the link

  43. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Dusty, it’s amazing how western states think that everything the government is doing is bad. Some people out west want to live in their own little cults sometimes.

  44. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    There was an article in the NYT a few days where it was reported that 3 more condors died from ingesting lead from carcasses killed by hunters. Groups like the NRA are opposing the ban on lead- based on the price of these newer bullets- Is there an availability problem with these as well? Is puzzles me when hunting groups choose to use a product when it has been proven to kill condors in the wild. Is this a new form of conservation that I am not aware of?

  45. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    ++It’s always the big bad federal government, the President, trying to block some local interest that fails to understand they have some really nice stuff in their state that is important to the whole country.++

    There is a bit of a paradox when it comes to federal designation of certain lands for “preservation” purposes. There is a thought that if you really want to screw up a resource designate it as a Monument, National Park or Wilderness Area. Once it is designated it gets more public attention, and therefore is used more. Sometimes in the effort to make more available to more people it tends to destroy or degrade the very thing trying to be preserved, including the experience of visiting it.

    As an example I think of Mesa Verde NP. Because it is a NP it gets lots of publicity and a huge number of visitors, red safety cones, chain fences, railings, and all in the cliff dwellings to protect people from themselves. Sure, there are efforts to preserve and restore what is there, as well as educate the visitor with interpretive materials. Then you have to have buildings to feed visitors and sell them trinkets and tourist junk.

    There are cliff dwellings (which I will not name) within a couple hundred miles of Mesa Verde that are equally as spectacular and not frought with all the people and traffic. You just have to work a little harder to find them because they are not designated, and on multiple government and private internet websites, or featured in magazines as family vacation destinations. Certainly there is a huge risk by not “protecting” them with a national designation. I find however, the experience of visiting these lesser known areas, without all the tourist crap, much more rewarding.

    It is a difficult trade-off. And, you are right about the locals who want to protect other interests, like grazing and oil and gas exploration in certain areas of the West.

  46. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    When the ones wanting to keep recognized value public lands off protected status are the resource exploiters then you know these lands should be protected.

    When the day comes those folks who most recognize the value of a protected resource resist inclusion of any of these lands or points of interest because they think it will be destryed by overuse then only then will I believe looking at “it” from both angles or sides is worthy of my thoughts.

    Without protection it all just becomes a matter of time before the exploiting eliminates the value …for good. Yours and my (and no one has more public “secret places” than I do) secret little getaways and refuges have to be take back seat to the greater good of all is what I say.

  47. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads

    Widerness Muse

    You are right about someofthetimes. New national monuments can put up a big sign . . . “VISIT.” That’s not always true.

    What about Clinton’s big, big national monument creation spree? How many can the average “woman-in-the-street” even name, or even know how to locate?

  48. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Before the ink dried on President Clinton’s declarations of new monuments they appeared in Backpacker magazine. They don’t need a “vist me” sign at the entrance to get attention. The infrastructure in the digital age, and specialized recreational print media, are already in place to get the word out quickly (Example: Canyonlands NP was for years a sleeper. Little advertising for this NP, and even few support services for the visitor. You really had to want to go there for the wilderness experience, know your purpose and be prepared, including the fact that water is scarce in some spots. Now you go thru Moab -once a nice little town- and it is a strip mall of national chain motels for mountain bikers). See how long it takes before state road maps include newly designated areas- maybe two years.

    Granted, designation as a monument does not not have the same impact as a national park designation – which is clearly a VISIT ME advertisement that brings those rental RV’s out by the thousands, now. And, Presidential declared monuments cover alot of types of national interests; structures and small acreage locations of historical significance, as well as large acreage natural areas.

    Please do not misinterpret my cautions. As Bob Jackson seems to suggest it is the lesser of evils, and on that I tend to agree, as to some areas. Escalante-Grand Staircase will probably never be a big draw, but I guarantee visitorship is up ten fold, maybe more, from before designation, based on curiosity alone. Maybe that is a good economic thing for this unvisited and remote area of Southern Utah. I do not know.

  49. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    That was a great story! We could use more stories like that.
    I think most of the people who are apt to use the new National Monuments knew of their value and probably had visited before. I know Backpacker Mag featured areas in
    GS-ENM before designation, they just used different nomenclature.

  50. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    @Jeff E
    Regarding your video of the Golden Eagle,
    I suspect that the Eagle in the video you showed is a highly trained animal getting that kind of footage without staging it would be incredible difficult.

    Eagles in Mongolia have been trained for thousands of years to hunt for food and pelts. They even used the Eagles to hunt for wolves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re644qgnCtw

  51. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads

    Wilderness Muse,

    Like I wrote, a new monument can be sign that says “VISIT.”

    Your example — Canyonlands National Park — it’s not a good example. It’s a national park. Many years have come and gone since it was created by Congress, not a President.

    Yes, I know Moab. It’s like you described.

    How about a real example? Maybe Parashant National Monument? It’s big. Clinton created it.

    Have the polygamists in Colorado City starting promoting it? How about Kanab, Utah?

  52. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Yes, of course Canyonlands is a NP, but once it was not very well known or used, and that was my point in calling it out as an example. Let me say again, the “infrastructure” is in place now to get information out quickly to millions of people, about these once less visited special places. It makes less difference about the type of formal designation (whether it is Congress enacting law declaring a NP or wilderness; or the Antiquities Act that gives the President the authority to act unilaterally to declare a monument). Natural area monuments are typically less developed than NP’s, and can be administered by NPS, BLM or Forest Service, depending on the original agency responsible for administering the land before designation.

    Most of the monuments designated by President Clinton are under BLM administrtion, I think. Fancy that, the despized grazing arm of the federal government now getting more heavily into recreation. That ought to give all of us the shivers. Some monuments still allow grazing as a use, notwithstanding Bruce Babbit’s warnings that you can’t have multiple use like that on some of these sensitive lands.

    Now to your example. Parashant Monument declared by President Clinton, is an adjunct unit to Grand Canyon NP. It is now getting more attention than before. The bulk of this over 1 million acre NM, is .8 milllion acres administered by BLM, likely under less restrictive use standards than the portion of Parashant that is administered by the National Park Service, which is about .2 million acres (part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area).

    The longer term, and bigger, question is whether part or all would, in the future, be added to the Grand Canyon NP. This would require an act of Congress. That sometimes happens to monumnents in subsequent years. That would put the area under the more restrictive use standards of the Park Service, and a chance it might eventually lead to a higher level of development to accomodate more and varied users. Of course much be viewing vistas, as it is inhabitable due to topography (deep narrow canyons & cliffs) or the Mojave Desert.

    Recall that Stephen Mather, the first Director of National Parks of our young nation, had a vision the Parks should be places of entertainment. He once made Yosemite such a place. Put up hotels and shops for the rich, bears fed garbage under electric lights, and gravelled (paved) over everything so you can get a car/bus or now RV through it in record time. Unfortunately, there is still an element of this philosophy alive and well in our NP system.

  53. Virginia Avatar

    Chris Harbin – thank you (my son’s name is Chris!).

  54. vickif Avatar

    I read a recent article in Field and Stream, about the fall out of a man in Idaho having shot the first wolf during the season.
    It was a bit one sided.
    Howver, it did have some valuable points. I feel it also went above and beyond to make pro-wolfers look like crazed and extreme idiots.
    As a hunter, and dare I say “a middle of the roader”, I see that there has been a bit of progress made among hunters, but articles like this seem tainted and the statistics they use are seemingly intended to weigh the argument against wolves.

    I hate it when folks try to sway things by saying they eat the elk in question, as it is an obvious non-necessity to survive these days. It is a choice people make about what meat the WANT to eat. Given recent statements made here, I think most hunters spend more money to hunt than they would spend buying meat from a grocery store. We need to be honest and call it what it is, SPORT. I do.

    It sites a herd outside of YNP, which if memory serves, was located outside the Montana border, to the north. It talks about the decline in the numbers of elk in the herd, yet it fails to mention the herd was likely abnormally large due to the refuge it could take in the park.

    Additionally, it fails to support the “elk are being decimated by wolves” approach to the arguement. In fact, it almost paints wolves as the over-populated coyote next door.

    The article actually doesn’t paint the man who shot the wolf as a right wing hater of four legged predators. It paints him as a sportsman, nice average guy next door, single dad…a bit too pretty of a picture, and mostly irrelevant.

    It is a bit more unbiast than the average wolf story in a hunting mag, but I feel the need to write the editor to dispute a few key points. As a hunter, I feel I have a voice which is often over looked by these publications, because I don’t scream or rant loud enough.

    As a hunter, I have learned to appreciate the ‘greater good’ which wolves are doing, by helping to provide sustainable habitat for other animals, including the fish I also love to catch.

  55. Elk275 Avatar


    I have not read that article and have been looking for the issue. Keith spent 6 weeks researching and writing that article and a portion of it was written in the Bozeman Barnes and Noble bookstore coffee shop. This is the longest article that Field and Stream has ever published. I usually see Keith every couple of weeks in Barnes and Noble and if I see him I will give him this web site.

    The tried to write a balanced article on what he researched. He indicated that from his research that wolves were reducing elk in some drainages and not affecting them in others. The mag should be in the news stands next week. It will be an interesting read.

  56. Si'vet Avatar

    Elk275, I have a copy of the article, will forward to Ralph and ask him to forward it to you.

  57. vickif Avatar

    I really am that middle of the road person, and I hunt and fish.

    I whole heartedlt understand the concern for elk from a sportswoman’s point of view.

    The article is better than most that I have ever read.
    I just really felt like it swung a little anti-wolf, and I had hoped upon first reading it, that it would show ups and downs…and maybe state a clearer arguement for both sides.

    I do know that some populations have been impacted, ofcourse they are going to be impacted.

    But at some point, sportsmen(women) have got to acknowledge how spoiled we have become, due to the efforts made to enhance elk numbers.

    I absolutely say, without hestitation, that I felt the article tried to lean toward the middle. I just think it fell short of that.

    All of the up in the air, my way or the highway attitudes that have been thrown around have caused more damage than wolves ever could. People have got to be realistic, an both sides.

    My opinion is, and always has been, wolves belong, and they should be classified as a trophy hunt. But the mis-handled situation, and lack of non-partisan and unbiast scientific planning has left me feeling like the extremes have messed up so much for those who would like to find legitimate and viable solutions.

    I just got my magazine last Friday. Let me know your take.

  58. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I am well aware of the mongolian eagles.
    but as I have said there are similar videos of eagles hunting from all over the world, ie. the one posted previous to mine with the deer.
    I don’t know, but I wonder how the one sequence of the eagle returning to it’s nest on the side of the cliff was staged. I just wonder if the eagles there have developed into specialized hunters of goats a la the Mollie’s pack and bison.
    Here is a video that a number of people claim is staged, what do you think

  59. Elk275 Avatar


    ++I just really felt like it swung a little anti-wolf, and I had hoped upon first reading it, that it would show ups and downs…and maybe state a clearer argument for both sides.++

    I have read The Defender’s of Wildlife’s magazine several times and it is a very good publication. If the Defender’s published an article about wolves would it not swing a little pro wolf? Would it be balance? I doubt it as the writer has his or her bias.

    Remember Field and Stream is a hook and bullet crowd magazine which is beholden to it’s advertiser’s as all modern magazines are unfortunately regardless of the subject matter.
    In fact, I can read Field and Stream in about 30 minutes and Outdoor life in 30 minutes and at $4.95 each at the news stand, well I will order a cup of Earl Gray Tea and read them free. That way I do not have to dispose of them.

    When was the last time you read a camera magazine reviewing new cameras and the reviewer said that model and make of camera is a piece of $$$$ do not buy it. No it is slightly rate below the its competitors and something positive about it is included. Turn the page over and there is a full page ad for that make and model of camera.

    Most of the bogger’s on this forum would not write a non bias article on wolves. Each and every one of us has are bias.

  60. Dusty Roads Avatar
    Dusty Roads


    It dawns on me that these big wolf stories are like the big fish stories.

  61. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Bill McKibben on climate change skepticism. As always, excellent and logically irrefutable work from Bill:



  62. vickif Avatar

    What you say is true. However, none of us here are journalists. Journalism is supposed to be about factual respresentation. So, I hoped for more.

    I get that the magazine is some what ‘old school’. But most of the hunters I know feel the same way I do about wolves.

    If any progress is going to be made, on behalf of wolves or hunters, magazines like F&S have got to start being more in your face with scientific facts. (But that would be based on the premise that the magazine is more interested in what is good for hunters and game, and not just sales…and we do live in a very capitalistic society.)

    There is a lot to be said for unifying a position. To be real honest, hunters have more they should oppose with ranchers and developers than they ever would with wolves. For that matter, the lack of proper scientific understanding and application to game management has led to a far bigger threat to ungulates than any predator…and that is CWD. Feedlots and artificially inflated herds that congragate in too large of groups will spread the desease, which will irrevocabley harm big game populations.

    But that, well, it is a whole other ball game.

  63. Virginia Avatar

    Orcas are wildlife – right? Read the article by Jason Hribal at counterpunch.org entitled Orca Resistance at SeaWorld. These wonderful mammals have been exploited by SeaWorld and others for too long. This article is an excerpt from a book Jason has written.

  64. timz Avatar

    On the 180 lb. wolf story. I find it ironic the Idaho Leg. is working on passing a law to keep hunters names private in response to the posting of the names on the Internet of those that killed wolves, but many of them don’t seem to mind blowing their horns in the press and on various web sites about their kill.

  65. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    From Tony & Rick Mayer regarding Emergency Wolf Bill HCR043 and a statement by Rex Rammell regarding killing wolves if he is elected governor.


  66. jon Avatar

    For those that live in Idaho, I know Otter is a wolf hater and so is Rammell, but who do you think is the bigger wolf hater between the two? Just curious. I hope Molloy rules soon because what Idaho is doing is wrong and it shows they are not capable of coming up with a good wolf management plan and sticking to it. Some of the things on that site are a joke. How many people have wolves attacked in Idaho? None I know of.

  67. timz Avatar

    Rammell is a complete kook and the fact that he even gets a single vote in Idaho is an embarrassment to Idaho, IMHO.
    Otter is nothing but a blowhard.

  68. jon Avatar

    Timz, do you think Rammell has a chance of winning? If this gets passed than what? Hunters can shoot as many wolves as they want? I have heard some hunters say they are getting their “meatballs” ready for the wolves.

  69. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    jon, timz, etc.,

    I think Rammell has no support except for a small per cent LDS. His talk about the White Horse prophecy sounds crazy to non-Mormons.

    Hmmm. Come to think of it though, Glen Beck hits around the fringes of that.

  70. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    About 30 years ago, I watched a golden eagle kill a four-point mule deer buck at tree line near the Devil’s Bedstead in Copper Basin. It grabbed the deer in the kidney area as it was running down hill and then released it. The deer tumbled head over heels several times and smashed into a dead tree. The deer then crawled (Its’ back legs no longer worked) under a low branched pine and died, out of the reach of the eagle. I climbed up the mountain and photographed the dead deer(it took me about 4 hours because of all the rocks and snow), but the eagle did not return while I was around.

  71. jon Avatar

    Can someone verify this for me, but I believe it was Rex Rammel who said he would buy a hunting tag to hunt Obama. I’m sure he was kidding, but it just shows you what kind of person he is to say something like that in public.

  72. jon Avatar

    I believe it was Rex Rammel who said he would buy a hunting tag to hunt Obama. I’m sure he was kidding, but it just shows you what kind of person he is to say something like that in public.

  73. JB Avatar

    “…Glen Beck hits around the fringes of that.”

    No fringes about it, Glen Beck is all sorts of crazy!

  74. Salle Avatar

    Glen Beck is a publicity whore and will say anything for anyone who pays the most.

    1. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Salle – replace Glen Beck with Barack Obama, now you have something.

  75. timz Avatar

    Jon, rammel has no chance of being elected, he’d be lucky to get 5% of the vote. Otter since his famous, “I’ll kill the first one speech” has been strangely quiet on the wolf issue. I doubt he would act on this “emergency” to kill a bunch of wolves, he’s smart enough to know the public relations nightmare it would create.

  76. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Chris Waller,

    I read it this morning. It looks like there is no evidence at all for 180 pounds. It’s a big wolf, but it looks like nothing more than a hunter’s guess of weight.

  77. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Welcome back! We missed you, but Dusty did a great job keeping things going, and in check.

    RE, the article: If they have not already done so, some idiot trophy hunter organization will come up a measurement system of skull, paw or some other physical attribute to rank who got the “biggest.” And then whatever it is will wind up on some published list including hunter name.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Wilderness Muse,

      I think Dusty or someone like that might become a generic editor for when folks are gone or other people want to help edit.

      We have gotten a fair number of people offering to do that.

    2. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears


      There is already an official scoring system in place for legally taken wolves…no need to reinvent the wheel and when it comes down to, organizations have always measured animals..

  78. Jon Avatar

    You are exactly right Ralph! The hunter estimated the wolf’s weight without ever weighing it. This is why some are skeptical when hunters speak of these wolves and their weights.

  79. Jon Avatar


    This might have been posted already, so forgive me if it has, but a F & G manager says the wolf wasn’t 180 pounds.

  80. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You are right, this one has been posted twice already. It’s just a hunter’s opinion. Apparently he didn’t weigh it. The wolf just looks big.

    The chances of it being in the neighborhood of 180 pounds is, I think, about. 0.001 😉

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      I just looked at the hard copy of this is my local paper. It got a big piece on the outdoor page. It is exactly the piece-of-crap story that feeds rumor.

  81. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I got a suggestion that these comments were getting hard to follow. As a result I just implemented a hierarchy of comments — a second level.

    I hope folks like it.

    The resulting change will become apparent to users pretty soon

    1. JimT Avatar

      I think this will make the individual threads easier to follow, so thanks a ton.

      Now, in terms of avoiding so much traffic, is it possible to have the replies appear someplace else, like a link, so the main story submission entries would stay pretty clean, and then if folks wanted to reply, or wanted to create a separate thread, all one would have to do is to click on reply, and it would take them to that set of comments. It may not be possible with this software. Thanks for the separate reply button, Ralph.

      I still think we should make an effort to keep this “new story” link relatively confined to news stories only, though, as much as possible. Perhaps, Ralph and others who can post stories deem them worthwhile and of wide enough interest, they could post them on the main pages of the blog.

      Just my thoughts after a week or two…

  82. Jesse Avatar

    Interesting article in the Idaho Mountain Express today about the mayor of Sun Valley proposing reinstituting elk feeding in the Sun Valley area.
    The headline itself is a contradiction:
    Sun Valley mayor proposes feeding elk to keep predators away

    Sometimes the lack of understanding that people have of nature boggles the mind

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Isn’t this mayor the same one who said he was cowering in his lodge last winter when a pack of wolves was on the edge of Sun Valley?

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      This is the same phenomenon which apparently exists in Banff, Canada. Predators following elk into town in winter (they have a few wolves vry close). Apparently authorities are trying to keep elk out of town because of this, and is blocking access and redirecting the elk back to where the wolves and cougar can get at them – thus reducing town resident anxiety. The program has been in place for a couple of years.

      This “sanctuary” issue is a contributing issue why the town of Estes Park at the East entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park does not support wolf reintroduction there (the Park agreed).

      This is a formidable cautionary wolf reintroduction factor which has been raised for the Sequim, WA area just north of Olympic National Park, where there is a large elk herd that plows through gardens and organic agricultural fields, mostly in winter. They don’t have to feed elk there, but as population grows they have to relocate some.

  83. Si'vet Avatar

    Ralph it fuels rumors and ill feelings. A shot of cross country skiers enjoying the sun/slopes would have been nice, this time of year.

  84. Chris Mortensen Avatar
    Chris Mortensen

    I heard that a Druid pack wolf was found dead today. Any more information? Also, very good article by Douglas H. Chadwick in the latest National Geographic. I thought it showed all sides quite impartially.

  85. JB Avatar

    I recommend a close look at the map in the NatGeo article Chris cited. Specifically, when you look at where the packs are located you can see that it nearly ALL of them are either on federal public land or immediately adjacent to it (the map shows 2008 locations). Now realize that FWS, in its most recent Final Rule argued that only those areas were wolves were/are constitute a significant portion of their range within the DPS. In essence what they are saying is that the only range that is suitable/significant in the NRM DPS is federal public land.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      If you look at the pack distribution, you will also see there is no continuous distribution of wolves between central Idaho/SW Montana and the Greater Yellowstone. The two restoration areas are still very distinctly separate on the map.

      I mean there is no meta-population, and with the “wolf control” based on livestock depredations, I don’t see any such population developing.

    2. JB Avatar


      Do you have a sense as to what the limiting factor(s) is/are? Have many wolves been killed by WS in between the CI recovery zone and the GY recovery zone?

  86. cc Avatar

    “High Plains Poison”, a short article by Rick Bass on Montana coal ash in the March issue of Sierra:

  87. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    The Bad news that we have been talking about on this website is hitting the APNewswires today, the quotes and numbers being reported are scary.

    Outbreak kills hundreds of bighorn sheep in West:
    Feb 26th

    Google news is full of hundreds of articles covering the issue many of them focusing on local responses, many State goverments have given up shooting the sick, saying that there are simply too many and it is too hard to tell who is sick..

  88. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    Have you heard of Fracking before? It is a common technique to bring oil to the surface, there is a lot of discussion in the news right now about oil companies using toxic chemicals in the process. Some in Colorado claim this water has contaminated the water supply and tap water is now litterally burning at the tap under a lighter.

    Fracking injects the ground at pressure with water and other fluids 90 percent of which is never recovered while the oil industry denies it evidence is building that the process is contaminating water supplies.

    Check the following links…
    Water bursts into flames at Colorado Home. (with video)


    I did not believe what I was seeing, so I dug a little bit deeper,
    Two Oil companies recently admitted to injecting DIESEL fuel into the ground to bring up material.


    Little Federal Oversight into the types of materials being injected into the ground.


    And lastly another article that discusses in detail the issue, and mentions a current EPA investigation underway in Pavillion, WY that could become a focal point in the issue.


    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Yes, I have heard of fracking, and not just on Battlestar/Caprica 😉 It’s good you posted this. I think these horror stories are true. I wonder what the total number is?

  89. JimT Avatar


    Look on Page 228 for the list of chemicals associated with fracking.

    Ralph, I am impressed you know of Battlestar Galactica…VBG…

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Not to divert attention from this important issue, but I really like the series.

      When I was between maybe 14 -25 years old I really liked science fiction.

      Since I have retired and bought a Kindle, I have taken it up again.

    2. JimT Avatar

      I too share your weakness…;*) Ralph

  90. JimT Avatar

    And finally, a good source page for lots of links to information on oil and gas and its consequences and issues…


  91. JimT Avatar

    Fracking is also used alot in the rural Northeast when a well threatens to run dry and they try to use this to release more water flow from the bedrock. It is cheaper than drilling a new well, but not always successful..no guarantees given..and it can screw up the surround aquifer so it affects neighboring wells. Some wells have go down as much as 500 feet in granite and limestone bedrock before water is found..the legendary “ledge” of Vermont and New Hampshire. And try blasting a basement in this stuff…$$$$$$$$$…

    Personally, I prefer fracking to be confined to space ships…;*)

  92. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Very disturbing story. Fort Lupton, the location of the film footage in the article you posted, is about twenty miles north of Denver, in an agricultural area along Hiway 85. The Colorado Health Department, which has primacy under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act should have been all over this issue regarding the implications to ground and surface waters, as well as the Weld County Health Department. I am surprised the focus was on EPA neding to do something. Diesel based products simply do not go away, and benzene is a well known carcinogen.

    It used to be the Oil & Gas Commission, had to coordinate with the CO water quality folks for any new or controversial technology that would put water quality at risk. But then, the O & G folks do not have the best record of environmental responsiblities. I hope there are some very stiff fines involved in this along with mitigation clean-ups if what is alleged is true.

    Texas is yet another matter. Their water quality management function is the office of the Railroad Commission, if memory serves correct.

  93. Jon Avatar

    Public Hearing For Idaho Emergency Wolf Bill Stopped
    February 27, 2010

    There will be no public hearing on HRC043, Idaho’s Wolf Emergency Resolution.
    The word I have received from sources say Governor Otter has requested that the House Resources chairman, John A. Stevenson, “suppress” this bill. In other words he doesn’t want it acted on in the Idaho Legislature. What is it that Governor Otter fears? What happened to the governor who stood on the steps of the Capital and announced he wanted to be the first to kill a wolf?
    Tony Mayer, SaveElk.com, is encouraging all Idaho residents to contact their representative and voice concerns. He drafted a sample letter if you choose to use it when emailing your representative.
    Representatives Stevenson and Shepard:
    We are disappointed in your decision to suppress HRC043 Wolf Emergency Resolution as this is a small but very necessary measure to encourage our governor to take proactive necessary steps to deal with the untenable wolf crisis in our state.
    We further request that you encourage and support additional measures and legislation directed at taking additional necessary measures to reduce the population of the Canadian Gray Wolves in our state back to the original agreed FWS approved Wolf Management Plan population level of 150 wolves.
    Allowing the original introduction of the Canadian Gray Wolf into our state was ill-advised and a mistake in the first place. Continuing to allow the wolf population to vastly exceed by some eight to ten times the original 150 wolf level is catastrophic and is causing irreparable harm to our citizens.
    Wolves are depredating ungulate herds throughout our state and are proven harbingers’ of highly contagious parasites. Wolves are jeopardizing the very safety and health of our citizens, our livestock and state wildlife resources.
    We encourage you to fulfill the fiduciary responsibility you have to your constituency and to take whatever action within your prevue to preserve and protect the citizens and the resources of our state.
    Tony Mayer

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      I think Gov. Otter understood that passing this resolution would be harmful to the state winning the case of wolf delisting.

      Maybe this SaveElk person doesn’t understand that or maybe they have already become an organization with a psychological/financial stake in keeping the controversy alive.

    2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Wolves are depredating ungulate herds throughout our state and are proven harbingers’ of highly contagious parasites.

      And just what disease are wolves bringing in?

      It amazes me how people use that Canadian wolf argument all the time. Like there is some border fence keeping wolf populations separate in a state that BORDERS Canada. It’s like I’ve said before, maybe this time and energy should be focused on schools and economic development instead of wolves.

  94. Layton Avatar

    Probably silly of me to post this, not much hope that many folks here will believe it.


    but maybe you’ll read it.

    1. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Thanks for posting – why would “many folks” not believe the science ~ S ~ Maybe I should ride over to Missoula and hand deliver a copy to Judge Molloy??????

    2. JB Avatar

      Thanks, Layton. This press release certainly won’t convince anyone who believes IDF&G is seriously biased against wolves. Yes I know, wolves are the “ONLY” thing that has changed in the Lolo since wolf reintroductions began….

    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      I believe it. In fact, I used “anecdotal evidence” and posted it here several times since last October to support this conclusion in adjacent Clearwater units, as well.

  95. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Layton – appears the “rumors” of wolves destroying elk herds were actually “premature facts” – just goes to show how much more knowledge the “idiots” in Idaho have about what is actually going with the wolf situation than some of the out of state legal/scientific experts that chime in all of the time. Maybe the “boycott” crowd will now offer an apology to Idaho and rebook their trips. And just to think, Utah wants no part of this fiasco – guess they are not so dumb after all.

  96. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Layton and TWB,

    It is possible wolves have reduced the elk population in the zone. It is possible there is another explanation or a multitude of reasons including wolves.

    What needs to be released is not just conclusions but the data the conclusions were based on. Mark Gamblin never did that despite our asking.

    The last official Idaho wolf report (January 2010) finally gave a bit of data. More is needed.

    We need to know the survey area, methods, number of elk collared, number killed, manner of death, age distribution of the elk. Rival explanations did to be stated and ruled out.

    They should have all of this, and they should release it just like scientists do in any study. Any study with conclusions but secret or unavailable data is suspect. Were it an scientific convention, studies wth unavailable data would not be permitted a presentation.

    I not saying Fish and Game won’t gave out the data. I’m just saying no one will be persuaded who isn’t already, without it.

    1. JimT Avatar

      As usual, Ralph, you point out the important issues when needed. I too would like to know the methodology, etc., just like the critics of “green science” demand, and rightly so. I have always said we need peer reviewed, apolitical science in this ongoing effort to repair and restore ecosystems and their inhabitants. I am not saying I won’t accept the study; I am skeptical of just results being released, no matter the report

  97. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph – can you and I at least agree on the way in which wolves attack an elk herd (by killing mainly cows and calves) that the population of that herd can literally “crash” due to the method of predation?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Of course. There are bulls, cows and calves. Excessive loss of any of these for any reason will cause a population crash. Prime aged cows, however, are the most important in the short run.

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      If calves are taken by bears or wolves in large numbers, as they have been, there won’t be any that make it to be “prime age cows.”

      I should mention that Idaho F&G has been advertizing to get more of their non-resident licenses and elk tags sold. Most tag quota units, if I recall from past years, are sold out well before March 1. Reduced sales could be a combination of “word out about perceived effect of wolves,” the economy in general and the fact that they raised non-resident fees. Whatever the cause, the reality is their revenues are down, and they are trying to close the gap.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Wilderness Muse,

      I said “in the short run,” prime aged cows. You didn’t read my comment very carefully.

    4. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      If you mean healthy (not undereweight from predation fear as suggested by Dr. Scott Creel’s research) pregnant cows ready to drop (and not abort) full weight calves this spring, which subsequently are not killed by predators, I concede your point.

      The Lolo, according to the ID F&G website, has over half of its wolf harvest quota unfilled (17/35 remain). Query whether remaining wolves will affect the remaining populations here or have/will move on where prey is more plentiful. Where would they go for better prey base?

      The Dwarshak – Elk City Wolf Zone (GM Units 10A, 14,15,16)immediately to the west and south of the Lolo have been affected too. It will be interesting to see what the aerial elk survey results are here, if they do one this year. Also, the wolf quota of 18 in this zone was filled early in the season. An inquiring mind would ask why as compared to the Lolo with its remaining 17 unfilled?

    5. Layton Avatar

      “An inquiring mind would ask why as compared to the Lolo with its remaining 17 unfilled?”

      The biggest reason would be access. Dworshak and the surrounding area have a pretty good network of logging roads – both open and closed. But even most of the “closed” logging roads that belong to PFI allow access by 4 wheelers.

      A lot of the Lolo Zone is pretty hard to get into unless you are on horseback. The brush is more dense and there aren’t near the roads.

      The wolves can hide better and there aren’t near the sheer number of hunters.

      Plus that, if I remember correctly, the number of elk tags in the Lolo is capped. Why?? Because of the lack of calf recruitment for one reason. I know what I think the biggest reason is, but of course it’s only anecdotal!!

    6. Layton Avatar

      I guess I didn’t make my last point very clear. With the number of hunters capped, there are less people with rifles in the woods, therefore less wolves killed.

  98. Jon Avatar

    Pro wolf, I don’t think they want wolves there period. They are just trying to find excuse after excuse to make the wolves seem as these terrible savage animals.

  99. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Jon, that’s all that is. It’s that Little Red Riding Hood fear.

  100. Cobra Avatar

    We need to remember that without elk, deer and moose there are no wolves either. I would like to know how the deer and moose populations have done since the wolves came along, does anyone know?

    1. JimT Avatar

      I suspect there is a “learning curve” for these prey species since they have been without their prime natural canine predator for quite some time, and there maybe indeed be some above average population loss until they regain their native “predator wary” behaviors. One think I would like ask Doug Smith or any other wolf biologist…do wolves self regulate their food supply, or do they have a historic, documented history of completely wiping out any given habitat and then moving on?

    2. Layton Avatar


      I spend a LOT of time in the Payette Natl. Forest north of McCall, where there is known to be a lot of wolves. I have noticed a pretty severe drop in the numbers of elk over the last 5 or 6 years – I’ve commented on that several times on this blog. 8)

      In addition, I used to see moose almost every day that I was in the Burgdorf/Warren/Secesh area. I haven’t seen a moose there in three years now.

      I know several people that live in Secesh Meadows. They claim that, while seeing moose used to be a regular occurrence, now it is an event that they contact their neighbors about. Seeing wolves is old hat.

  101. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Pro Wolf and Jon – you two really help “your cause” by attempting to diminsh any scientific information that does not support your opinion.

    1. timz Avatar

      TWB Like all the “facts” you presented in the mange debate. The one where you said perhaps the Indians gave it to wolves is still my favorite.

    2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Talks with Bears, it is common sense that if wolves were really decimating populations like people said they were they would have caused their own extinction years ago, as well as deer, moose, and elk and we would not be even having this conversation . As far as what I mentioned about the winter causing a massive drop in numbers in Yellowstone in 1996-1997, do the math, 14 wolves could not have killed that many THOUSANDS of elk at that time. This was an unnaturally high population.

  102. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Cobra – I know how the deer population has done in the upper Ruby valley in MT since the wolves have arrived – they have been decimated. Of course, all I heard here when I brought up this topic based on my direct observations was how I did not know what I was talking about. Hard to find middle ground with some folks.

    1. JB Avatar

      TWB: The other day I brought up the statistical phenomenon called regression toward the mean. If you take a look at Wikipedia, you’ll find this definition: “a variable that is extreme on its first measurement will tend to be closer to the centre of the distribution on a later measurement.”

      Wolf reintroductions coincided with historically high elk populations. In essence, elk populations were at extremely high levels and likely not sustainable over the long run. I do not doubt that wolves have had SOME effect on elk in some areas, but when you assume a causal relationship between wolves and localized elk declines and run around using the term “decimated”, people are going to roll their eyes and dismiss your opinion altogether–at least people around here.

      And despite repeated requests, I have yet to see any science to back up IDF&G’s claims–unless counting counts as science?

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I think regression toward the mean is an obvious explanation for part of the Yellowstone northern range herd’s shrinkage. The wolves were reintroduced the year after an all time record peak. Therefore, it would have been very unlikely for a decline not to follow.

      Of course, there is the question of what has happened since the several years afterwards. A lot of time has passed since them.

      As a sidenote, I am truly astonished that the Park’s northern range herd is the only elk herd in the Park that is ever mentioned to and by the general public. It’s like the other herds, including the Jackson Hole elk herd don’t matter, or a failure to even perceive that most of the elk in the Park are not on the northern range.

  103. Jon Avatar

    Wolves obviously make elk challenge their behavior. I believe hunters need someone or something to blame for making it harder for them to find elk, so they blame wolves naturally. They believe that since they don’t see elk anymore, it means that wolves have killed them. Why can’t they maybe accept that elk changed their behavior due to the presence of wolves and simply moved elsewhere where hunters might not be able to find them as easily as before the wolves were reintroduced.

    1. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Jon – It appears you do not hunt. On this site, many of us that do in fact hunt have shared our direct observations. Our attempt has been to inform you and others that the elk and or other game in some situations IS NOT PRESENT. Please pay attention – if elk are in an area they leave sign – they do not walk above the snow, they are quite heavy – and they leave waste. When there are NO ELK they are extremely hard to see.

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      When my hunting partners an I see more elk carcasses on the landscape while hunting than have ever seen before (20+ year history in the same areas), many of them calves, we are left with many questions. Since there has not recently been a bad winter, and there are no reports of disease that takes calves, what are we to conclude? Add to this, the presence of ever-increasing amounts of wolf poop on game trails and logging skid roads, wolf howls and sightings.

      And, yes, wolves change elk behavior, as well. They keep them at higher elevations, on steeper slopes where they eat less nutritious browse instead of graze, tending to result in lower animal weight going into winter, lower weight of birthed calves (read as weaker), and maybe even lower succesful pregnancy rates for cows, and statistically higher sampling of stress hormones. THAT is the conclusion of hard science research, not conjecture

  104. Jon Avatar

    I mean to say change their behavior.

  105. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Wolf reintroductions coincided with historically high elk populations. In essence, elk populations were at extremely high levels and likely not sustainable over the long run. I do not doubt that wolves have had SOME effect on elk in some areas, but when you assume a causal relationship between wolves and localized elk declines and run around using the term “decimated”, people are going to roll their eyes and dismiss your opinion altogether–at least people around here.

    JB, elk were probably at a level that could have been catastrophic in the long term if they had continued to stay there. People also conveniently forget that the 1996-97 winter was exceptionally harsh. Going into the park that Memorial Day there were plenty of elk carcasses that had definitely starved. Elk stayed at low elevations longer to get the strength to migrate higher. Over 1,000 buffalo were killed leaving the park. This happened when the wolves were reintroduced do naturally people are blaming them.

  106. Layton Avatar

    “Probably silly of me to post this, not much hope that many folks here will believe ”


    I rest my case.

    If it’s printed in the Rocky Mountain News or if it comes from Western Watersheds —– it’s gospel. No further proof needed. Add another chapter to the bible.

    If it comes from Fish and Game, a federal source that isn’t openly advocating FOR wolves, or anyone that isn’t 100% for them and whatever they want to eat — it isn’t real — period!!

    Kinda makes a person a bit pessimistic.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      What in the world are you talking about? !! The Rocky Mountain News went out of business 2 years ago and was just a general newspaper for the greater Denver area.

      Western Watersheds Messenger (their publication) writes almost entirely about public livestock grazing.

      You must be frustrated that people won’t take Idaho Fish and Game’s word about the conclusions of a big study without seeing the numbers and the methods.

      I am skeptical of them because they are under so much political pressure — just like news releases by the provost of my former employer, Idaho State University — lots of glowing stuff while the students are protesting high fees, lack of classes, and most of adjunct faculty are laid off.

      Are you not aware that organizations almost always produce news releases that further their agenda?

  107. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    JB – the only time I have used the word “decimated” was in regards to the whitetail herd in the upper Ruby here in MT. That is the only wolf/prey situation that I have direct knowledge of. With years of direct observation to have a decline of 75%. I would also submit that in elk unit 310 near Yellowstone the elk count has dropped from 1,500 to 300 – that probably fits decimated also.

  108. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Layton – thanks again for posting. I think I am going to ccok up some elk burgers tonight in honor of the elk, which are being regressed by the mean wolf.

    1. JimT Avatar

      So if you can label wolves “mean”…totally anthropomorphic, by the way…can we call elk “stupid’? ~S~

      So, let me pose a potentially dangerous question. Outside of their use to you as a food source and recreational pursuit, is there anything else about the elk itself that you admire?

  109. Jon Avatar

    WM, you make good points, but others things besides wolves kill elk and just because there were signs that wolves were in the area, does not automatically mean wolves are the culprits for all of the dead elk in that area. Grizzlies and mt. lions kill quite a few elk too, but you never really hear about them killing elk. It’s always the wolves are decimating all of the elk herds. Wolves and elk being here today proves that these two animals have survived quite a few years together co-existing alongside each other. If wolves were capable of wiping the elk out, they would have done so a long long time ago.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Again, Jon,

      The only NEW variable for most areas is wolves. Grizzly are not widely distributed and there aren’t that many of them because the net population grows very slowly. Black bear do take elk calves, and maybe even more very young ones than wolves in total. Black bear are increasing in some areas, as well. The subject of passions and flared tempers iis the delta – the change or increase- in numbers of elk that are taken by a very rapidly growing wolf population that is expanding over new habitat. Indeed, it is complex.

      I kept hoping Mark Gamblin, would address the issue of additive and compensatory mortality in the context of harvest mortality for elk, but unfortunately he has gone silent.

    2. JimT Avatar

      Actually, isn’t there an increase in documented diseases among elk that resemble mad cow in recent years? And while it is not exactly a new variable, the effects of climate change on food sources may be reaching what in chemistry is called the saturation point…when the tolerance for additional changes is reached, and the changes become much worse and apparent.

      No matter what, it always seems to come down to demonizing or blaming the wolf for doing in the “sacred elk”. I wonder how all of the pro elk folks would feel if they were not hunters of elk; if elk were just another species like marmots. Would one still feel the same passion?

    3. JB Avatar

      I’ll reserve judgment on the extent to which wolves are affecting deer and elk til I see some good hard data, but the numbers cited in the report by Jeff E (below) do not instill confidence. The largest sample size for estimating elk calf survival was 33, in some years/zones it was as low as 9.

      Regardless, it appears that a harvestable “surplus” isn’t good enough anymore; some hunters want F&G agencies to “produce” elk and deer much the same as ranchers “produce” cattle. Population fluctuation is normal and, one could argue, desirable.

      And don’t forget, according to the FWS, domestic livestock outnumber native ungulates 2 to 1.

  110. Jon Avatar

    Some of the things wolfhaters are saying are getting real ridiculous Ralph.

    View Profile

    Reply #530 on :Posted on : Fri February 26, 2010, 11:06:08
    Red Dog…..There are ppl in Idaho trying to bring legaslature to pass laws that when there is a wolf attack on a human, there could be charges of murder brought on the USFWS and the conservation groups responcible for bringing this non native invasive species to our area. such laws need to be implimented in all states effected by this act of terrorism. here in Oregon the wolves in 3/4 of our state are protected by ESA. we don’t want them here either, but our ODF&W has produced a management plan anyway.

    Our main purpose for developing such laws are to be able to charge these ppl with Eco terrorism and in the event a human is killed, murder.

    1. JimT Avatar

      This is a prime example of why people have the perceptions of the anti wolf, pro elk, anti government folks that they do as “whack jobs”. No reason, no logic, just rants. Where is the survey that says “oregonians” don’t want wolves in their state? I have lived in Oregon..I find most of the state to be pretty reasonable, but there are some areas in the northeast corner than can harbor the rabid anti Fed folks.

  111. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I came across this site a couple of years ago and was impressed.

    Fauna of the National Parks of the United States

    Early studies and recommendations for the Northern Yellowstone Elk Range. Written in 1934 by one of the first biologists hired by the National Park Service, George M. Wright. Since wolves and cougar had already been extripated from national parks his only comment regarding them was “In parks such as Glacier and Yellowstone, however, the coyote, while it is undoubtedly more abundant then formerly, may perform a useful function as a salutary control on herbivorous forms in place of the mountain lion and wolf, which formerly filled that role.”

    Lots of photos of overgrazing durng the 1930s by elk, the native ungulate.


    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Barb Rupers,

      From way back in 1934! That is an interesting article for a number of reasons. I was interested in its critique of managing wildlife like livestock. It looks like little progress has been made in that regard in the 75 years since the article was written.

  112. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    Your suport of supposed “hard science” that says all the adverse affects on elk herds is like saying human mothers and kids are being wiped out by roving packs of gangs…..that these women and children are having to leave their homes and now are cowering under bridges…..that they are going out at night to get edibles from sewage lines. Get it???

    The elk herds are very disfunctional today and the infrastructure of those animals is very broken. The males are basically gone or the few left have so few role models they can not do anything to protect those elk
    ‘herds” you talk about.

    I say, think about what an animal was, and its evolutionary development that allowed it to have very healthy numbers, during a time when wolves were a lot more in numbers than today.

    Todays humans and wolves are hunting refuge camps of elk.

    I also ask you to think a bit out of the box, do your own thinking instead of relying exclusively on printed and googled word. I wouldn’t even be asking this if I didn’t think you were capable of doing so. Try it and see what happens is what I ask.

  113. Cris Waller Avatar


    “Board of Game ponders wolf trapping in Denali buffer zone

    FAIRBANKS — Priscilla Feral spent a full day flying to Fairbanks from Connecticut to speak before the Alaska Board of Game for five minutes on Saturday, even though she doesn’t think it will do any good.

    It was the least she could do for Gordon Haber.”

  114. dewey Avatar

    Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone emerging from winter dens about three weeks earlier than ” normal “. Several documented and some hearsay accounts of griz tracks. One would guess this is due to a mild winter with low snowpack, and NO WIND to speak of, at least in my neck of the woods , Cody WY area. ( read: no hardpacked snow ; fewer cornices/ drifts ). How unusual to have so few windstorms and bona fide chinooks this winter… you have to go back to the winter of 78-79 for a year where the snow and ice lingered like it has this year ( except that there’s been so much less precipitation ).

    Here’s a story link to the Jackson Hole News & Guide on this topic, February 28:


    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      To me, this winter has seemed pretty typical for an El Nino winter — light snow to the north; heavy precipitation to the south (AZ, NM, southern CA).

    2. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Dewey – similar here, we had the big freeze in early October, brown leaves from that event still on the trees. Then the monster storm middle of Nov. and regular moisture in Dec and early Jan and then nothing. The sun is finally starting to work on the snowpack around town however, on flat ground it is still 10 inches deep and heavy. The gophers have dug out from under the snowpack, maybe they know what the bears know????

    3. Elk275 Avatar

      Talks with Bears’

      I have done an unofficial gopher study in Bozeman for the last 3 years. The study area is behind Costco and Target. The first gopher out this year was 2/7/010 and the last gohpher to bed was 11/17/09. The year before the first gopher out was 2/15/09 and the last gopher to bed was 11/25/08. The next the first gopher out was 2/14/08 that is the end of the study.

      It seems that gopher actively hits it peak around June and starts to taper off around early Agust. I am going to start kepting more notes this summer.

  115. Richie, Giallanzo,NJ Avatar
    Richie, Giallanzo,NJ

    Here by the shore we had about 36 inches of snow, three big storms, central park had it’s forth biggest snowfall.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      This too is typical of an El Nino winter, the result of warm water in the Pacific Ocean diverting the storm track to the south filling it with moisture.

      . . . and there are those fools on Fox News saying heavy snow means no global warming!

  116. Richie, Giallanzo,NJ Avatar
    Richie, Giallanzo,NJ

    p.s. Thank God for friends of animals they do great work for all animals in need, a real organization for all animals.

  117. Don Riley Avatar
    Don Riley

    NPR Now piece on the current wolf litigation ongoing in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Interesting statement by Bangs concurring the Fed position150 wolves would be satisfactory to meet ESA requirements.

    On line pole associated with the piece has 1,500+ votes as of this writing, 90% of which vote to increase protections, 10% +/- vote no. This certainly is the result of NPR demographics.

    Program aired 11AM mst today on National NPR (sat).


    1. timz Avatar

      Bangs continues to be a sellout.

  118. Jon Avatar

    I don’t think Ed Bangs is well liked by both sides of the wolf issue. I notice that sometimes he says good things about the wolves and a few weeks later, something negative.

  119. timz Avatar

    Yes Jon your right, in other words he’s turned from wolf advocate to milk toast on the issue, to keep his job IMHO.

  120. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph – what say you about the “fools” in power that for years have told us we must change or pay up because the proof is “right outside our windows”?????? Seems to me that the “global warming elitist” are getting back what THEY started.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Talks With Bears,

      When you write a phrase like” global warming elitist,” what do you mean? To put it another way, how would a person who believed in global warming be an elitist? And in your view, what is an “elitist” and what is the opposite of an elitist?

  121. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Elk – that is the exact location wher I observed the beast yesterday scampering around on top of the snowpack. Thanks for the gopher history.

  122. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph – “a global warming elitist” is someone that has decided the “science is settled” – therefore in their opinion, weather does in fact prove their point. Al Gore comes to mind however, if you would like someone in power you may you tube Barbara Boxer – believe it or not Ralph she has actually “seen snow melt”.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I understand pretty much what you are saying, but why would such a person be an elitist rather than let’s say, closed minded?

    2. JB Avatar

      So what do you call someone who believes that global climate change is all a big hoax? A global warming denier?

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      The reference you cite is a really great description of the complexity of addressing elk populations and predator relationships in 3 discrete areas of Idaho (Lochsa / Lolo, Sand Creek and Couer d’ Alene) and the effects of predators and other factors (like habitat changes) on elk.

      What I found interesting is that it is a March 2007 publication based on 2006 or earlier data. They admit they only began to include the wolf component in 2005, so that is only two years of data, at most. They openly admit beginning at p. 323 that they do not have enough data since wolf reintroduction to draw conclusions on impacts.

      The wolf population from 2005-2009 has doubled in ID (close to static for 2010 with the hunt and WS control?).

      Four years is a “lifetime” as the distributions and numbers of elk and wolves have apparently changed dramatically, in certain geographic areas. It would be interesting to see how the authors – all IDFG employees- view the matter today.

      Perhaps the February 26, IDFG announcement that wolves are the dominant factor for the rather dramatic elk population reduction on the Lolo is such a summary update.

  123. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph – closed minded is fine. However, an “elitist” is someone (In a position of authority or power – financial, political or otherwise) that chooses to “talk down” to another person, this is generally reserved for those that in their own mind they have closed off debate.

    Ralph – like something you could do (selective editorial control) but, you choose not to. We do know you have to exert some “even handed etiquette optimization procedures” at times – and we appreiciate that. Ken also.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Thanks. It is irritating when someone says “the science is settled.” It really might be settled in the minds of climate scientists, but the steps have to be explained and objections heard politely if the public is to be convinced.

      It irritates me when people say “it’s settled, wolves are decimating elk,” end of discussion.

  124. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    -Interesting article discussing Bighorn Sheep Management in Montana at Wildhorse Island


    Introducing the newest tool for Wildlife Services, ‘GonaCon’
    Multi year birth-control vaccine.

    After several years of research the FDA has approved Gonacon for use on White tailed deer populations. The drug is also effective on a very long list of other animals including canine, feline, and Rodentias. The drug causes 2-4 years sterilization in female white tailed deer and is administered by injection. WS-USDA is persuing additional certifications for multiple species.

    (Is this how IDFG discusions of wolf sterilization will take place in the future?)

    News Article on the FDA Approval here:

    Older APHIS WS Factsheet on GonaCon


    Gonacon works by instructing the immune system antibodies to attack the bodies sexual hormones. That is a a scary thought to me.

  125. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Yellowstone’s bears are now beginning to emerge.

    Park News Release


    Of course, this means other grizzly bear populations such as NW Montana are or will be soon emerged too.

    1. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

      Mid of February! Isn´t this a bit early? Maybe it was just a single bear emerging and not the general wake-up call :-))

  126. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    It is a bit early. However, this has been a light snow winter in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The winter precipitation track has gone far to the south due to the El Nino warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

    The truth is a few bears will emerge in late winter almost every year.

    1. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

      We had (and still have) a severe winter with lot´s of snow here in Europe. I contacted my friends in my favourite bear watching area in Slovakia and they told me everything is still covered with a thick snow blanket and the big brown guys are still asleep. Looking forward to see them again…..

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Peter Kiermeir,

      Thanks for the update from Europe. It is good to hear from you again.

  127. JimT Avatar

    This has to do more with the upcoming fire season, and the questions of what effect beetle kill will have.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox