Have you seen any interesting wildife news? March 16 to March 30

Note that this replaces the 4th edition. That edition can be found slowly moving down into the depths of the blog.

Please don’t post entire articles here, just the link, title and your comments about the article. Most of these violate copyright law. They also take up too much space.






  1. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    11,000 Acres of South East Idaho to Power 37,000 homes in California.


    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Nathan Hobbs,

      124.5 megawatts is a pitiful amount of energy for using 11,000 acres (17 square miles).

      Let the California homes get their wind energy from some place in California!

      This kind of thing used to be called colonialism.

    2. matt bullard Avatar
      matt bullard

      Is that development on public land or private? And Ralph, would your opinion change if the power being generated was to be sold in Idaho? I don’t really see the problem with selling power out of state. Idaho buys most of our CO2 based power from out of state. State borders are really quire meaningless…

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Matt Bulllard,

      This is private land, but the transmission will be a public corridor and the turbines harm the public’s wildlife.

      State borders are not meaningless when it comes to power generation and supply. A state as a political entity has huge power to approve and regulate power generation and transmission. It is not just a matter for FERC (Federal Energy Regulation Commission).

      Brian, Ken and I continue to argue that power generation should be located near the source of the demand as much as possible. This is often more efficient and ethically it makes it so that those who produce the demand feel the external effects of their desires.

      Exploiting resources far from home is precisely what colonialism was all about. One of the big results was pain and suffering and stagnation in the colony.

    4. matt bullard Avatar
      matt bullard

      Ralph, I generally agree that the power should be generated close to the source. But when you say, “A state as a political entity has huge power to approve and regulate power generation and transmission” you are clearly not talking about reality in Idaho right now, which does NOT have a state siting authority, devolving all siting control down to the county level. I would, of course, favor the state taking control of siting authority for power generation, not just for wind but for other plants. Furthermore, until Idaho adopts a renewable energy standard, we will will continue to see 1) new wind/solar/geothermal being exported to states who value it and 2) the majority of our power being imported from out-of-state coal plants and salmon-killing hydro.

      And yes, I know where you, Brian, and Ken go with this argument, that it is cheaper to conserve and to build.

      My guess, though, is there may be some people in the neighborhood of this wind farm who 1) will benefit from jobs (construction, management, support) and 2) who do not object to it on ethical, environmental, and aesthetic grounds, regardless of where the power is going.

  2. Salle Avatar

    Outfitters plan rally Saturday on town square in Jackson
    Wyoming hunters blame wolves for elk decline



    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      I posted this on an older section of news. I think I might try to go and see it. It will depend on the roads. It might anger up the blood though. 🙁

    2. JimT Avatar

      Yes, it would be interesting…and probably also potentially hazardous to one’s health if one spoke up for other than the anti wolf, pro-trophy elk party line there. If you go, bring a small tape recorder, or video cam. I smell You Tube moments…;*)

      Is anyone from this list attending as a supporter of this gathering?

    3. dewey Avatar

      There’s a web cam on top of the Cowboy Bar that looks down on the Town Square, primarily the southwest corner. Maybe we can watch the anti-wolf festivities thru it’s All Seeing Eye at the appointed hours.


    4. Ed Darrell Avatar

      But, wolves harvest the sick and ill-adapted elk. They must mean decline in elk numbers, not “elk decline.”

      Decline in elk numbers with the introduction of wolves is nature’s way of saying there are too many elk.

      Or, for the sake of those hunters protesting, it’s God’s way of saying there are too many elk.

    5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Ed Darrell,

      Maybe or maybe not in terms of elk numbers. When any predator kills an animal that would not survive the winter anyway, it does not reduce the numbers of that animal except very briefly.

      This is called compensatory mortality.

      If wolves or whatever kills an animal that would otherwise live, this is called additive mortality — it adds to whatever other mortality exists.

      If you talk with folks that dislike predators because they think they will reduce the number of their prey, you will often find they do not know about compensatory mortality — haven’t heard the word or haven’t learned about the process.

    6. Ed Darrell Avatar

      I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. But serious point taken.

      You get there more often than I do, I’m sure Ralph, but I think Yellowstone demonstrates the effects of wolves well. In between our visit there just after the 1988 fires, and our return in 2003, meadows that I had watched and photographed for 30 and 40 years disappeared. New trees.

      The rangers explained that it was wolves. Elk (and probably deer) had grazed and kept the trees down for my entire lifetime, at least. No predators to worry about, elk would graze the tall grass and keep the trees away.

      Add a few wolves, and the elk retreat to the meadow edges, let the big fields go.

      The elk guy I talked to said there weren’t really many fewer elk, though a lot less of the tiny percentage of slow ones. They just changed their dining habits.

      As a hunter, I’d rather drag my elk from a field than through a stand of trees, too.

      I empathize with the hunters who want the wolves gone. I don’t sympathize with them

      Stephen Ray, the British actor and comic, did a tour of America’s 50 states that made it on PBS down here in Dallas. In Montana he found a ranch family who told of their experience with wolves. They’ve lost horses and several dogs. That’s a tougher problem — they moved to raise horses in near-wilderness, and now their business is literally under attack from wolves. While I sympathize with those ranchers, I wonder whether the answer isn’t a different payment program to compensate them for lost business, and not a relocation of wolves.

      By the way — have any backpackers come under attack from wolves anywhere? I think had that happened there’d be a lot of press on it, from the anti-wolf groups. Is the lack of such news indication that the wolves are leaving humans alone, or just evidence that humans haven’t spent much time in their territory yet?

  3. Salle Avatar

    Auction yields $17K to benefit wildlife program


    The article says that this foundation and these funds are to go to IDF&G for wildlife watching… I find that interesting when the IDF&G continuously claims that ALL their funds come from hunting tags stc..

  4. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Interesting comments in the Gazette versus the Star Tribune. I wonder if the Statesmen has this article.

  5. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    God, I wish I could be there to see those outfitters in action at Jackson. Not really, but the blow hearts will be thumping their chests. Have a look at the outfitter quoted in the article. What is his record?.

    What about the Wyoming Outfitters association? The year before their presdent was elected I had caught this same dude poaching a lion in the Park. Plus Wyo. G&F had nailed him several times. And he was also on double secret probation with the forest Service.

    And what about that coveted Wyoming Guide of the Year award given that same year. Just so happens he had his guide license taken away earlier that year. Too many game violations. That year I saw him playing packer, not guiding hunters. But those well bonded Wyo. outfitters know loyalty when they see it. They just don’t extend this to the law or have any respect for any wildlife.

    I would hate to think the Wyoming G&F employees are stooping so low as to do any sort of cooperative iniative with Wyo. outfitters as it appears to be happening.

    Ya, it would be good to be there. I’d be cat calling from the stands telling it like it really is…and pointing towards each of them…telling all the poaching each one of them was caught doing.

    1. dewey Avatar

      BOB—your wish to be there might be granted vicariously thru the magic of the internet. If the outfitters have the cojones for it, they should stage their little rally on the southwest corner of the Town Square in Jackson . Not only is it conveniently located a short crawl from the Cowboy Bar, there is an outdoor web cam on top of the legendary pub looking down on that corner with its All Seeing Eye.


      Saturday, march 20 , 9am-2pm

    2. Kevin Watkins Avatar
      Kevin Watkins

      Wow Bob, I spent 14 years as a gude in the Teton Wilderness and backcountry of Yellowstone. We must have been in two different places. I never realized it was so lawless up there in the wilderness or I would have packed a gun, which I did not unless I was hunting for myself in the wilderness, legally in the fall. I as well as some of the folks I was guiding met you on both the Yellowstone and at Mariposa Lake in the summer. Of course you were to busy sitting on your horse looking down at us like we were foriegn invaders to really get to know who we were and our background. The guys I worked with never poached elk or fish or anything else in the park or wilderness. I have a degree in animal science, my fellow guides had degrees in wildlife management and biology. It was a pleasure to explore and introduce people to the wilderness area and let them enjoy the backcountry experience, that you also were able to do. Spending on an average of 110 days a year in the wilderness gave me the chance to learn the majority of the flora and fauna of the environment and pass that along to my guests. I guess I missed out on the getting monetarily rich part that you seem to think happened for the outfitters and guides in the wilderness. I did however become rich with something much more valuable than money, memories and experiences. You once showed a fellow guide a fantastic arrow head you had found, I hope you replaced it or gave it to the Park so it could be viewed by others. You seem to lump all guides in a category fitting your agenda, I would call that stereotyping. Demonize and cat call, real mature Bob. Please give us a hard number of the poachers you personally captured in your tenure as a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone. Maybe it would open my eyes to the destruction and lawlessness that I failed to witness or participate in over 14 years of guiding.

    3. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson

      Mr. Watkins, I presume,

      Yes, all of us likes to validate ourselves. The key is whether we hold in check, keep to the reality, those happenings and life changing experiences we like to claim for ourselves and ultimately as our own personal identities.

      Just by the fact you minimized “bad” happenings in the wilderness by those with well known and very substantiated labels …. as well as dismissing the monetary incentives of outfitters (try multiplying 95 hunters per camp by $5,000 and then realize this money comes in with only 7 weeks of hunting….and you get an idea of how important money is too these outfitters…something you may not have been aware of in your evidently summer only dude trips)…..and I have to label you as someone who wants to romantisize those “experiences of yore”.

      Now if you would have said some of the outfitters who only did summer trips, and you were one of these employees, then I’d have said there was a chance you didn’t know what was happening around you….but again only if your boss kept all those internal outfitter wars and intrigue close to his chest. In which case this makes you,” fat, drunk and stupid and no way to go through life, son” for not observing all going on around you …as a quote by Dean Wormer to Flounder of the movie, Animal house.

      Maybe your outfitter sheltered you and had his wife tuck you and you college buddies under her wings to keep you warm. Put her soft hands over your eyes when that litlle black dude with the double barrel rode by in the summer….. acting as advance enforcer for his outfitter party coming up behind …who was kicking any private party out of the camp spot this outfitter designated as his own.

      Maybe the outfitters wife asked you go to “check pickets” when they spotted the outfitter and two of his summer armed hands (a guy warring with your boss) rode up to the Yellowstone-Thorofare confluence with two of his right hand men, and away from your innocent ears, told your boss this was the place he was going to fish tomorrow and…. in so many words said they did not want to have others at the same spot when they rode in next day.

      And that camp you rode by on the West side of Bridger Lake, the one with corrals and hitching posts still set up (highly illegal of course) …with no one around for looks like more than a week…but your boss goes right on by..and camps even further away even though it is a lousy spot and you have to travel 3 miles further ….and this puts you in after dark.

      Now why would your hero boss pass up that really nice place in the Wilderness with all that good graze and next to the river..unless of course he knew the hammer would come down if he trespassed on the turf of the ruling outfitter in the valley?

      Of course you didn’t know all this stuff did you? And while at Mariposa looking for all those high country flowers you didn’t see the old time illegal camp by that same ruling outfitter…you know the one with all those rusty cans hidden behind the sub alpine fir thickets on the SW corner of that lake? Did you take a scenic ride north or at least see horse tracks going north from this lake. If you did it was all illegal since it was in the closed Two Ocean bear closure area. Did your boss take you cross country through this closed countryto that little unnamed lake about two miles north of Mariposa …. where you rekindled that illegal fire pit on the South end of this lake in order to have another good old fashioned fish fry….of course with fish all well over the 13 inch keepers limit.

      Maybe your boss didn’t but he knew exactly where those tracks headed to.

      And maybe you went south from Mariposa to do a little sight seeing with those flora and fauna impressed dudes of yours. Since bow poaching of elk starts here during the time you are still summer guiding maybe you saw at least one arrow sticking in the mud of a shallow pond…but just a little too far out for that little footed guide to retrieve a hunters missed shot.

      No, evidently your wish to remember a defining and shining moment in your life was too blinding to see all what was happening around you.

      Or were you with one of those “better” outfitters who did not fall hunt guide but you wondered how he got permission to put all his horses in the Hawks Rest Wilderness guards pasture day after day …well he didn’t get that permission, and because he did this, all those govt. horse parties coming in from a long days ride had no graze for their horses.

      Ya, you’re clueless. And yes, I would collect only and then turn in any Park arrow head that I noted had very old linneage to it. My emphasis was on fllowing the lives of these peoples of 3-6000 years ago. Fid their game trails and blinds.

      In fact, I knew there was such an old style in one spear point I had the Park Archeologist send it on to region. There they found out it was the oldest projectile…and thus evidence of oldest occupation of humans in Yellowstone ever known. And I reported lots of Native campsites, in fact more than all those combined and recorded in Yellowstone history.

      I did follow a lot of your outfitter comrades around while they looked for arrowheads IN THE PARK. Then I would confront them either at Mariposa or follow tracks to Fox Park where I would address this violation. Not the proof to cite but they knew I knew.

      And as for poachers caught it all is well documented. When I got a Park Service award for poacher getting they checked this out in Law Enforcement files. “They” said I had caught more poachers than all the rangers combined for my 30 year tenure …. and for good measure throw in forty years before me. It doesn’t take much. Remember too, the ones I caught and the ones you defend, were outfitters and guides not some drunk out of West Yellowstone shooting a moose up the highway. I think I had 13-20 bonafide poacher, (depending on how you count) nail them in the ass convictions. Don’t include the loaded firearms of those poachers I let off lightly or those who had not shot anything and who just got lost.

      What we are talking of is flat out chases across meadows, where poachers are diving under logs and I’m yelling “stop you mot.. f….ers!!, Guys emotionally beat down …so much so they all cried….Jackson Hole outfitters going in right next to your picture perfect Mariposa Lake and shooting a bull 3 miles in for a Florida hunter paying $10,000 for a good head. This case, by the way set the Wyoming record for fines and siezed equipment for a single offense.

      Thank you Mr. Watkin for allowing me to defend myself. And maybe you better stick to taking pictures of flowers along the roads. Of course watch that traffic.

    4. Kevin Watkins Avatar
      Kevin Watkins

      Hello Bob, or should I say Mr. Jackson in this formal affair. I am astounded and amused by your rhetoric, personal attacks, and chest thumping. I do know of the case you are talking about. The person in question was not an Outfitter nor was he permitted by the forest service, yet now you are blaming permitted legitimate outfitters. As for the arrow you investigated at Mariposa lake, did you look into the folks that were camped in Fox Park, considering the fact that the outfitter in question had no Bow Hunters? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? I was in the wilderness all sumer and fall and never saw the “litlle black dude with the double barrel rode by in the summer…..” your qoute not mine. You prejudice, Bob? My horses never grazed at the fenced in area at Hawks Rest. Maybe I was, and I think I was, an “employee” of a “better” outfitter, again your qoute. Since you have felt free to attack my intelligence and think that it would take 14 years for me to complete a college degree and require someone to put me to bed, I would ask you to document the 13-20 poachers you have “captured in the park”. I think if I was in your position I would remember and know the names and exact number. Additionally I would request the number that were legal outfitters that had camps in the surrounding wilderness areas. Expose them and let us all know! I am still in the backcountry on occasions, and have not relegated myself to “Of course watch that traffic”, again your quote. It is and well always be Watkins, no need to presume.

    5. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson


      If you knew of this case (the one where a bull was killed in the Park 3 miles) then I’m sure you know of others. I guess you must of decided to have some short term senility when writing your previous posting.

      All my cases are in the Case Incident files in Mammoth. That is the best I can do for you, my friendo, …. on a web site such as this. Get a FOIA and you can look all you want. Even see implicated outfitters and guides handled in other manner…like turning them over to Wyoming G&F and USFWS for prosecution….because they could stick them with more.

      And in the case you talk of familiarity with, I’m sure you read the front page account of the Jackson Hole News as you were sitting on a saddle in the Cowboy Bar. How many people does it name?

      All park boundaries were overlapping outfitter districts areas changing and dependent on the migration of elk. Lot of elk late in the season and any could shoot on the firing line no matter whose turf it was.

      So you see you don’t even know of the outfitter and his area I am talking about. Do you have knowledge more than I of illegal activities, thus infer in your own mind who it is I am speaking of?

      And as far as bow hunters and outfitters most all outfitters used to despise any outfitter who allowed bow hunters in a hunting camp. Always said too many wounded elk that went off to die ….and this meant less elk for gun season.

      But all this changed and gut shots and arrows up the butt became the norm. How was all this pin cushioned and bloated carcass terrain countered with fresh live meat? By putting out more illegal salt to draw out the Park elk. Do you want me to name outfitters who did (do) this dastardly deed? The answers are in your newspapers. I don’t have to stick my neck out to say so. So I ask you to check again if bow hunters were in any outfitter camps.

      Again, you don’t even know of the case I refer to in the arrow sticking in the mud. There is no way unless you talked to the guy who did it. Did you? This happening never was approached in public other than in a case incident. Yes, I did notify the Forest Service indirectly by radio to view arrows in quivers for potential similarity when this group came out of the woods. Did they, the Forest Service, tell you who it was? Or was it the radio scanners a lot of outfitters kept in their camps…supposedly only to check on weather conditions? I use to have so much fun with these folks and their scanners. Codes were written and if “3” bags of grain were to be packed to a certain cabin it meant in reality another location. These dudes never did catch on.

      All I see you doing in your questions is being a front for the outfitters to try to get a slander case against me. Stick it, I say. The Park and all the collaborative Washington boys tried every trick in the book to get me to open up in print..so they then could release doctored documents to counter….in my publicized salting case.

      I can talk all day long with substantiated end result cases and also refer to outfitters, popes and govt employees in generalities in this democracy of ours and it is considered fair play. But I will stick to generalities as an overall assessment of the characters I “worked with”. I do love the chance to counter, however within this fair play. It was the only way folks knew what was happening so far back.

      You can go a step further if you really care and read my log entries with FOIA. Then go ahead and print it and then I can say more. I will be protected as an officer, however….and get to say even more.

      And I really don’t think the outfitters want to escalate this thing, really. To do so exposes a lot more that goes on back there…and this means the Forest Service has to crack down on numbers of horses grazed, amount of money these outfitters bring in (what is it …three percent of gross suppose to go to the forest Service?) …not only make them be honest in the future but have an investigation that goes back years …and then assess these outfitters for these costs for all those years. Then we start getting all those wilderness guards having seen lots of illegal stuff from these outfitters. They now get the chance to say all those things if the publicity is high enough …. and they think finally there is a chance to change all the illegal activities going on “way far away”.

      Bring them on and it means I get sponsored trips back into this same country to see what is still going on illegally….and it is printed all over this countries newspapers again. How about a movie from the likes of the award winning book, Hawks Rest. You did read this, right? It came real close before and it could easily come to reality. It would have been a go, I assure you, if only the outfitters would have sued the author for slander. Maybe they can revisit this thought since the book still is in print. If they have nothing to hide maybe it means the publicity will bring in more clients. Ya thats it.

      How about some more law changes and enforcement of those laws when it comes to outfitters hiring guides as “independent contractors”. Just might get a few of your “better” outfitters in trouble I bet. And what about the insurance, or lack of it, these outfitters carry on their help? Do they put this insurance on only for the first of the season with starting help so it looks good for “permittee” F.S. accrediting …. and then with all the turn overs there is none for the follow up hirees?

      How about the F.S. govt. interview these past outfitter employees to see if they got covered for being hurt when thrown off a horse..or if they just got fired?

      Or what about all those complaints by the paying dudes…letters sent to the Jackson Hole district FS and then stashed in some obscure file? Do you think these outfitters want this exposed so then FS has to do something about these complaints? No I don’t think so.

      No I think it might be best for your bosses to just endure the writings of a “crack pot”.

      I tell you what, something even better for your soul, why don’t you interview those outfitters yourself. I’ll even supply the questions to any given outfitter of the day. Yes, give that good ole animal science degree a brushing off and put it to use on subjects fitting of that purpose.

  6. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Idaho Stateman’s version with comments. Interesting to look at them from the three states.

  7. David Avatar

    Here’s an opinion piece about Mustangs:

    And two pieces I posted late on the 9th, A curious one about a WOlverine in the Sierras and an article that is a variant on the kill-wolves-for-the-elk philosophy, this one kill-sea lions-for-the-salmon:


    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      People will kill anything that they think interferes with their hunting or fishing. I’ve heard of fishing guides who want to kill mergansers for that reason. I also think it’s interesting when you see sites like saveelk and bumper stickers saying save an elk kill a wolf when the real reason people want wolves dead is so they can kill the elk themselves. Seems like such an oxymoron.

  8. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    Apparently Minnesota has taken the initative to again request Great Lakes wolves be removed from the ESA by petitioning USFWS. MN DNR officials cite the fact that over 3,000 wolves have been trapped and destroyed for killing domestic animals since repopulation.

    The approximately 3,000 wolves currently living in MN exceed their management plan objectives two-fold.


    1. JB Avatar

      I agree that the population is biologically recovered in northern Minnesota, though I’m not so sure about MI and WI. Minnesota is going to run into the same DPS issues that we are witnessing with the NRM population–unless they decide to delist the entire midwest (as was proposed before).

      Frankly, citing the purposeful killing of 3,000 wolves in support of your argument that the population is not threatened does not strike me as very wise–though those killings took place over more than 30 years (since 1978).

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      In fact, Minnesota kills a much smaller percentage of its wolves than than Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming. So what is the result, an exploding wolf population?

      No, the wolf population is stable and the deer population strong.

    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      I was not trying to make an argument. I took the statement of fact from the summarized article. It is the MN DNR position, and they seem very motivated to move on the issue based on the tone of several articles. It would be interesting to see a copy of the MN’s petition to FWS.

      And, unless they are joined by WI and MI, they will have a tough go of it. You may recall, FWS already lost on parts of the DPS issue in federal court in the DC Circuit in the HSUS suit a couple years back. Also recall there was a delisting rule that was pulled about the same time as the NRM. I think there was a suit filed (or at least a threat) involving FWS failure to seek public input with a proposed rule before going to the final. There was some sort of settlement for a temporary relisting. This is may well be MN saying it is time to delist, so start the process again. No doubt WI and MI are being polled, and unless things have changed they are ready to delist too.


      There was a 15 year DNR whitetail deer study released late last year, that said wolves take about 45,000 deer a year, or 10 percent of the MN deer population. That is about half what the hunter harvest is. A MN wolf will eat 15-19 deer a year (remember these wolves are less than 2/3 the size of the NRM wolves). The study also concluded that most of what the wolves take is compensatory, or deer that would have died from winter or other causes anyway. And, importantly, recently lower deer harvests have been the result of causes other than wolves – bad winters and habitat change. Try telling a MN deer hunter that, when harvests are down by 20% or more, as it has been the last two to three years, and the wolves get upward of 45,000 or more (3,000 wolves x 15 deer/wolf/yr.) seems a constant.

      The number of MN wolves killed by authorities has risen from about 140 to 196 last year (40% increase). And since that the process apparently still involves WS and an approval process, that may also be a MN motivation for wanting to manage. There seems to be growing interest in a wolf hunting season. Because of their management plan committment this the earliest season would be 5 years after delisting.

    4. JB Avatar


      A few corrections: First, 45,000 represents 10% of the deer population in MN WITHIN WOLVES RANGE. MN has many more deer in the southern/agricultural portion of the state. Second, you might note that the report you cited begins:

      “Is a robust wolf population responsible for waning deer harvests by hunters the last couple years? Comments from some deer hunters in northern Minnesota following the 2009 deer season seem to indicate that may be the case, but there is overwhelming scientific evidence that wolves alone have little impact on the deer population in Minnesota.”

      It can be found here: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/fish_wildlife/roundtable/2010/wildlife/wolf_deer_impacts.pdf

      You can find another study of deer harvest and wolf populations that came to similar, ambiguous conclusions here: http://www.mnforsustain.org/wolf_mech_and_nelson_wolves_deer_harvest.htm

      – – – –

      To be clear, when I said “your argument” I was referring generally to the MN DNR, not you specifically. This was my error and I apologize for the confusion.

    5. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Further to the orignal story on the MN petition to USFWS to delist Great Lakes wolves, MI Congressional Representative Stupak (represents northernmost parts of MI, where most of its wolves are) sent a letter yesterday to DOI Secretary Salazar requesting delisting to begin immediately.


      MI state House of Reps. also passed a resolution on 2.24.10 supporting delisting.

      WI DNR is very actively pursuing a petition with USFWS to delist. They are not sure whether they will join the MN petition or submit their own. WI has been seeking delisting for the past 10 years.

    6. JB Avatar


      Thanks for passing along the information on MI!

    7. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Actually there is more. The MN petition creatively avoids the tar baby DPS issue, which lead to the legal derailing of their earlier delisting efforts. I have not yet read the petition, but understand MN is asserting a 1978 federal regulatation designated the Minnesota gray wolf as a separate species from the gray wolves in the remainder of the contiguous US and Mexico (not sure what the current taxonomic refinement does to that argument). So, they apparently believe they have an independent basis to seek delisting – healthy population maxed out over historic range/ suitable habitat in the state and plan in place. Interesting, yes?

      And, by extension, WI and MI which have MN souce wolves expanding into their states may choose to piggy-back on the MN petition argument. So, if successful, all three states avoid the DPS argument. Is it compelling, and will it avoid challenge?

      Yet one more twisty turn in this tortuous path to delisting.

    8. NW Avatar

      The MN deer harvest is down because the DNR manipulated the seasons/bag limits to make it happen. It’s an example of the effectiveness of game management, but has nothing to do with wolves.

    9. JB Avatar


      I doubt that particular argument will hold much water with FWS. The wolves in WI and MI are of the same species/sub-species as MN, and therefore part of the same meta-population. However, I don’t necessarily buy the argument that you can’t have different listing statuses among states within the same DPS (despite previous rulings). But that is not a topic I care to elaborate on in a public forum–FWS is already exploiting enough loopholes in the ESA for my taste.

    10. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Actually the precident for different wolf listing status based on state boundaries already exists. It has since at least 1978, with the separate “threatened” designation in MN, while the “endangered” classification was applied to all remaining states and Mexico. There may be decisions involving other species which pre-date this action.

      Again, in choosing this approach, apparently in ground already plowed by FWS in the 1978 regulations, MN avoids the DPS technical ambiguities. No doubt, the defendants in the NRM cases (pending before Molloy in Missoula, for MT and ID; and WY as a plaintiff against FWS in Cheyenne before the federal judge there, know of these precidents. In that regard, the idea that a species can be “delisted” in one or more states, while remaining listed as either “threatened or endangered” in an adjacent state, is not new, and does not, in a practical sense, seem to be a big deal.

      Why is it a problem for WY to have an unapproved plan and listed wolves as long as they are under the protection of the ESA and FWS administrative authority. It seems this is better for the wolf because it can go into the “Predator Zone” and not be shot legally (illegally is another matter), as long as it doesn’t depredate on livestock or harass humans. The metapopulation in WY is in a higher protected status than if they had an approved, but undoubtedly more lax, WY management plan. That is why I cautiously predicted before that Defendeers et al. will lose on the political boundary – metapopulation issue, yet likely carry the day for relisting in ID and MT, if the DPS issue gets in the way. Molloy might even rule only on the DPS issue, and say it is fatal to delistin, and thus not even address the political boundary aspect.

      Back to MN, MI and WI. FWS would have to revisit their 1978 determinination that the MN wolves are not a “separate species” for purposes of the ESA. They already said it was. As I understand they have 90 days from receipt of the MN petition (3/17) to make an initial determination whether to reject or go forward, with rule-making to delist and may take up to 9 additional months to reach a final decision to go forward or not. Pending the outcome of the petition decision, judicial reveiw is available.

      I predict FWS, unless they feel constrained by a taxonomic classification issue, will advocate for MN (and possibly WI and MI they petition, too) to delist. Stay tuned, as a WI request to delist is forthcoming.

    11. JB Avatar


      I’m aware of how wolves were originally listed, but there have been a lot of changes in ESA policy (including common law) since 1978! Indeed, recall that wolves were originally listed throughout the conterminous US, despite the fact that the only known population was in northern MN. Now the Solicitor tells us that wolves are properly classified as “extinct” in these areas and–under his definition–would never have been listed in the first place.

      Whatever is decided, you can bet it will end up in the courts.

  9. Nathan Hobbs Avatar


    Comments Open to the Idaho Department of Water Resources until March 22nd about the new application being filed for Shoshone falls.

    Generating capacity of the powerplant to increase from 1 megawatt to a maximum of 64 megawatts. Will be able to divert five times more water from the falls. Most noticeable effects will be the appearance of the falls on offpeak tourist days. They are literally going to switch the falls into presentation mode for tourists during peak visitation….

    Personally I wish the original plant was never built a hundred years ago, one of the wonders of the west now surrounded by homes and diversion dams.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Nathan Hobbs,

      Thomas Moran’s famous painting of Shoshone Falls was made and used to compare the features of the new West to the settled East.

      Shoshone Falls was the Niagara of the West, and its wild spirit reflected the optimism that this time we would do things right, but we saw how quickly that faded.

      His painting was kept in the Idaho capitol for many years, but I guess the embarrassment led it to being moved back East.

  10. Jim Avatar

    Interesting read about wolves in IL. Where the wolf was shot was 130 miles or so due south of where the trail cam photo was taken.


  11. Salle Avatar

    Idaho hates Obama and the whole federal government so much that it just can’t help itself from coming up with this kind of stuff:

    House looks into expanding state control of land


  12. Salle Avatar

    With this article one has to wonder if there is no end to invasive scientific inquiry regarding wildlife. I guess there is no such thing is peace, even for wildlife.
    Moscow company has safer way to check pregnancy in large game


    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      My take on this story is that science ha developed a less invasive and more cost-effective/less dangerous and verifiable approach to determining whether wolves are negatively impacting pregnancy rates in wild elk herds. This method is being employed for exactly that purpose in OR, WY and ID.

      Isn’t that what part of the “best science” inquiry under ESA and wolf management plans is all about?

    2. Salle Avatar


      yeah, I guess I’m just in a down mood about all the huffing and puffing of late. It just goes to show that nothing is sacred anymore, and nothing left to nature. It seems that our species cannot tolerate anything that hints at mystery and wonder… so let’s study it to oblivion. Sorry for the down mood, it takes a lot to get me here but I arrive eventually. Must be time for a break.

    3. Angela Avatar

      I feel like you do Salle, especially since the helicopter flights into the Frank Church were allowed. I guess “progress” doesn’t suit a naturalist.

  13. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Ever thought of wolves in Saudi Arabia? There is news about an interesting movement against the killing of wolves. I think the wolves down there might be Canis lupus arabs.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      It would appear, based on the story, that historic and modern day persecution of wolves is not just a European and North American phenomenon. The motivations appear quite similar, whether they are justified in fact, or not.

    2. Angela Avatar

      Related to the above; results of latest genetic studies on origin of the domestic dog:
      “Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide,” said Robert Wayne, UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior author of the Nature paper. “Genome-wide analysis now directly suggests a Middle East origin for modern dogs. We have found that a dominant proportion of modern dogs’ ancestry derives from Middle Eastern wolves, and this finding is consistent with the hypothesis that dogs originated in the Middle East.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      It’s also very clear that anti-wolf people are going to try to blow this up as much as they can. You judge, but from the attached link I would say these folks are plenty happy she was killed by wolves.

      Hunting group turning up heat on wolves
      March 14th, 2010 @ 10:00pm. By John Hollenhorst. KSL News.

  14. Cindy Avatar

    Sorry – I see someone posted this on the subject thread yesterday..

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      That’s OK Cindy, I had meant to make the story a full post so I could show the link I just put up.

  15. Cindy Avatar

    is stomach content the only way to check?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      No. Stomach contents are highly suggestive, but not proof of a kill. They could just be scavenging. However, given all the wolf tracks so quickly near her body and the presence of only two wolves in the area (contrary to earlier media reports of wolves almost taking over the town), it would be pretty much conclusive.

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Email from a friend today reads . .

    In the Thursday, March 18 Bozeman Daily Chronicle, P. C1, a sidebar at the upper left corner of the page asks, “Fifteen years after reintroduction, do gray wolves belong on the Montana landscape?” Weigh in at http://www.chronicleoutdoors.com.

    Friend wrote, “After living in North America for 800,000 years, gray wolves might well be asking, ‘Do humans belong on the Montana landscape?’ ”

    Oh, well.

  17. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Ralph, you knew it was only going to be a matter of time before anti-wolf people jumped on this. I’m surprised it took this long.

    From the article:
    Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, says wolves are multiplying exponentially, putting wildlife and people at risk. “Wolves will destroy their food supply, and they’ll kill people. That’s why our pioneers got rid of wolves in the first place. Wolves are way out of control in the west, and it’s time for Congress to step in and reduce wolf populations before they kill people,” he says.

    I guess he believes wolves will be causing a mass extinction as well.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Peay was such an amazing liar? (I don’t know what to call it). He called one fatality a trend!

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Appeals to fear like this also disgust me. I doubt he is a coward, but this is coward talk!

    3. jon Avatar

      That is what wolf haters like Don Peay do Ralph. They exploit atypical wolf behavior to create fear within the populace. It is rare for wolves to kill people. Atleast in north america.

  18. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    This current situation is related to the failed Secure Border Initiative (SBInet) involving Sonoran pronghorn and a virtual tower’s construction in refuge wilderness with a quid pro quo payout of over $2,000,000.00, initially, over about 5 years. This payment hinged on an affirmative determination that the border tower is compatible with the purposes of the refuge by Cabeza Prieta NWR Manager McCasland and that his decision did not violate the Wilderness Act of 1964. Mr. McCasland’s ultimate boss is Region 2 Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle, known for pressuring refuge managers to allow all projects associated with the U.S./Mexico border wall, as I noted in my comments accompanied by a relevant link.

    The following link is a summary page of articles and links in the Arizona Daily Star (ADS). My posts are in the Comment section.

    Border Boletín: Scathing report on ‘virtual’ border fence


    The following excerpts come from the House subcommittee hearing on the almost billion-dollar waste and only about 20 miles of virtual fence completed, to date.



    “A pair of House subcommittees grilled officials from SBInet and its prime contractor, Boeing, as the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday that about 70 percent of the procedures for key tests on the project “were rewritten extemporaneously during execution” to create better test results.

    The report, which also said new problems are arising twice as frequently as they’re getting solved, came just a few days after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano suspended new work on the program and diverted $50 million in stimulus funds to other border patrol efforts.”

    The tests are being rigged,” he said. “I hope the department is working on a Plan B.”

    “…Congress was promised effective control of the entire Southwest border by 2008 and for $2 billion. So far, It’s covering maybe 20 miles, and more than $750 million has been spent–$650 million to Boeing”
    End Quote



  19. Cindy Avatar

    The Town of Jackson administrator moved the Rally site down the street to avoid a large crowed tearing up the square as it’s mud season here already. I think this will render web cam viewing moot. The JH Conservation Alliance placed a full size ad in the Jackson Hole Daily, very well done.

  20. JimT Avatar

    Judge Malloy is getting points again…requiring BLM to revisit oil and gas leases for climate change impacts. Slowly but surely there is building a cache of caselaw on climate change that bodes well for considering impacts on animals and habitat as well…


  21. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Thank you for continuing this “interesting wildlife news” section. Appearances are from all of the entries and the cordialness of almost all of the posters, that this addition appears to be a rousing success (albeit at a greater workload for you).

    The response definitely demonstrates how important and widely read ‘Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News’ is within communities who follow wildlife and environmental issues while noting the increasing disingenuousness’ of our State and Federal agencies. Again, thank you for your extra effort.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      The source documents for the story (3 blind reviews coordinated through U of WA, and a synthesis document done by U of Mass, Amherst), may be found here.


      The problem with stories prepared off of these documents is that wolf advocacy groups who are already using this information pro-actively go with a number, say 300 to 600 wolves in WA based on pure biology, without closely looking at the increase human-wolf conflict (livestock, pets) potential, forecasts of land use change in this urbanizing state, and the huge impact to hunting resulting from the nutritional needs of another 300 or more wolves.

    2. JB Avatar


      I don’t necessarily see that as a problem. The problem arises when agencies assume wolves should be kept to a minimum because they sometimes kill pets and livestock.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Wilderness Muse,

      Looking at this as a student of politics, I say there is no empirical relationship demonstrated so far between the number of livestock, big game, or pets killed by wolves and public perception/toleration of human/wolf conflict.

      Opposition to wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming has not changed much since the first livestock or pets were killed 14-15 years ago. Remember that way back in 2000 Wyoming’s governor and other state politicians claimed their economy was near collapse due to the shear number of wolf depredations. They are much quieter now, despite the outfitter demonstration tomorrow.

      Reports that all the elk have been killed by wolves dates back to the last millennium in these three states.

      In Utah, there is furious opposition to wolves among political elites despite the state probably having no wolves at all.

      Human/wolf conflict is a product not of anything wolves do, but of the balance of organized political groups in a state. It really is something for the social scientist to explain, not the biologist.

  22. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Ralph, appeals to fear like that show what lemmings a lot of people are.

  23. Salle Avatar

    Here’s a good article about winter use in YNP…
    More winter park use urged

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Thanks Salle,

      I certainly think that plowing the road to Old Faithful is an option that should be analyzed in detail.

    2. Salle Avatar

      It’s a prospect that warrants consideration. Most of us who live in the region and buy annual passes can only go in at Gardiner all year round, from where I live, it’s at least six hours’ driving just to Gardiner. If I could go in at West, I’d be able to use my annual pass all year instead of just summer. I think plowing should go up to Mammoth HS too. The park would probably benefit from increased fees from those who would like to see the place in winter but can’t afford the steep price of oversnow travel, and in that case, you’re on a time schedule that doesn’t allow for much stopping to see what you want to see if it isn’t witnessed while passing by. I don’t have any desire to ride snowmobiles and snow coaches have such a heavy carbon footprint that they really don’t make much sense beyond novelty.

      I hope Mr. Edgerton’s ideas are considered and acted upon, our park shouldn’t be just for the wealthy in winter.

    1. Ron Kearns Avatar
      Ron Kearns

      Update Sat 3/20/10

      G&F worker is fired for alleged lying, cover-up in jaguar capture


    2. Salle Avatar

      It’s about time they held someone accountable, but did they deal with all involved?

    3. Ron Kearns Avatar
      Ron Kearns


      While determining the proper culpability and subsequent accountability of all governmental employees in the AGFD/Macho B case is virtually impossible, I made a post in the comment section of the ADS article that provides my insight based on my experiences with the AGFD.

      I think that one cannot divorce the influence of a culture of supervisory direction and leadership from what occurred in Macho B’s death.


  24. Salle Avatar

    I just happened upon this a few minutes ago:

    Sportsmen/FWP host UM wolf expert talk


  25. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I always had to come up with reasons why someone poached before I had much of a chance of catching them LATER after they poached. I had to get inside their head, understand their drive and motives. Then I had a chance at catching them.

    But it didn’t end there. I had to figure out all the likely scenarios of this upcoming “event”.

    It was the same in figuring out the Park administrators actions before they even knew they would be following this course of action. Then I was always “ready” for them.

    My observations of all this rabble rousing going on in these states (including Minn.) concerning the NOW supposed need for “management (ie reduction) keeps leading me to the original wolf biologists who wanted these wolves delisted (without adequate checks and balances to insure the wolfs survival) in the first place.

    No, I don’t think they are organizing the outfitters but behind the scenes I think there is quite the “professional” networking and planning going on to undermine the wisdom of Judge Malloy’s decision. This is enough to put most all connected in this delisting in position to infect with the virus into other state and federal managers.

    In support of this possible scenario I don’t see any of these wolf biologists coming to the rescue defending their wolves. The cat never had their tongue earlier, why now when this is an animal they supposedly cared a lot about and at this time this animal needs their help most. Why do we not see them countering some of the radical outbursts??? Thus I have to consider the scenario of their involvement in subversive professional activities …. where perceived professional standing is more important than their study subject itself.

    I saw too much of this kind of destructive behavior in order to maintain bitter status quo in Yellowstone…whether it was in the maintenance, ranger or biologist divisions….to not think it is possible with some of the wolf managers …those who had so much to lose with Malloy’s rebuke.

    What do you think?

    1. Salle Avatar

      Actually, Bob, I think that the media plays a big role in silencing those who do speak out. It isn’t just that they don’t get much coverage, it’s also that they are misrepresented in the finished product when it gets online or in print or on the radio. Of the few times that I have been approached by the media, I have been extremely careful to avoid sound byte material that can be sliced and diced to sound totally opposite of what I actually said. It isn’t easy to do that, you certainly have to be smarter than the reporter and realize who their audience is before you speak.

      I do know a few of these biologists and they are being held hostage by a number of factors that could easily jeopardize their professional lives to such a degree that they would not only be out of a job but publicly discredited ~ even if the public discrediting evidence is false, they would suffer in some way that is too costly for them. Those who do speak out don’t get heard, aren’t asked to speak or just get buried under the interviewer’s attitude… Did you catch that interview that toady from FOX news did with Obama? It can easily turn out like that, then when the story is put out in the public realm, it doesn’t make sense or can make the interviewee look like a flaming idiot or any real information is edited out.

      I think that has a lot to do with the lack of advocates with biology backgrounds making the news with some sound and reasonable information. Some just don’t like to be shouted down by the dumbed-down public who can’t take the time to listen to someone who knows something worth knowing. The emotive element is the ruling factor these days and anything that makes sense doesn’t get the adrenaline flowing like the emotional appeal… I wonder if that will change before it’s too late to help any species, including our own.

  26. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    Thank you for your perspectives. I agree with you of the fear of some who have their jobs on the line. And I do believe it is emotion that carries the day with news reporters.

    I guess that is why I always have had good experiences with the media. And I don’t count the favorable salting issue response by media, either. It was a no brainer they would be on my side when the govt. issued a gag order saying I couldn’t talk with the press. The Park was a real zero to do that.

    But this two year odessey with the national press did give me a feeling for what it took to come out with a favorable slant from those reporters. One, I had to do a lot of their work for them. This meant sending them “hot” photos even before they knew they were available for their story.

    Two, I gave them a lot of tips of not only who to interview but also when they were to interview the “opposition” I’d tell them the likely answers and then the questions as follow up with those responses.

    It always worked when it came to controversial issues ….such as the bison reductions in the Park.

    Right now an airline mag is doing a story on our way of raising herd animals. Bringing in the photographers and all. We do as much as possible to give them the story they want. Quotes and pics from historical sources…things they would have no way of knowing to look for. Sending them a lot of my past power point presentations so they can glean quotes or facts for THEIR story.

    And when I talk with them I show lots of true emotion, cause and conviction.

    I can’t help but think if any wolf biologist who really cares and expresses this to the reporter…as opposed to being so scientific, factual and….DULL …. will not have to fear what comes out in print. Of course a caring wolf biologist probably would want to steer clear of some of the mags such as Farm bureau.

    Personally, I could not stand it laying low fearing for my job…or as you say “being discredited”. It would just make me bitter and what good is anyone being bitter?

    1. NW Avatar

      Bob, you need to try to move outside of yourself a little more.

  27. Virginia Avatar

    Bart Stupak wants to set the clock back for womens’ reproductive rights, but kill all of the wolves! What a great representative for Michigan!

    A sad note today – the death of Steward Udall – as President Kennedy and Johnson’s Secretary of Interior – was responsible for the Wilderness Act of 1964, The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, the expansion of the National Park system, the Land and Water Conservation Act, the Clean Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965. and the National Trails System Act of 1968. Will anyone ever do as much for the environment as this gentle man?

    1. Salle Avatar


      Sad indeed. I just saw the headline on the CNN website. It hasn’t been the best year for the environment and it’s protection in this country. I wonder if this will have an impact on that Bill about the Grand Canyon that Ralph posted on a thread …

  28. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E


    I am going to demand that the government immediately take steps to eliminate this dangerous disease carrying animal. How many more deaths and incidents of disease transmitted to humans is it going to take before something is done.?? our families are subjected daily to this danger of death and disease and our state and federal governments’ stand by and do nothing. It is time to act and let these people know that we are not going to stand by and take this any more. I call on all concerned CITIZENS to assemble at their statehouse steps and let their voices be heard.
    (I’m practicing to post on some other websites. )
    now let’s talk about mosquitoes

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      thanks Jon,
      here is some expanded information.
      write your congressmen

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Jeff E.

      You are right.

      It’s good people saw this. “It’s a trend” as maybe Don Peay would say. There are millions of these whitetails in the fields and forests. They have become so bold they hang around on city streets. They will brazenly take over your backyard and do thousands of dollars damage to your garden and shrubbery. They carry many diseases, including the dangerous Meningeal brain worm that destroys the gentle elk and valuable sheep and goats.

      Even armed citizens are not safe from their slashing kicks as the video shows. The bow was kicked aside like it was nothing. Just one well placed punch with a foreleg can tear through you lungs, and what about our children? 😉

    2. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      ……not only that. It is not native species to the rocky mountain states.
      Remove it at once

    3. jon Avatar

      Awesome article and good find Jeff E. lol

  29. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    If I remember correctly, this guy and his wife staged this, by dousing him with doe scent during rut..and they ended up being prosecuted for something…

  30. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    Ralph I agree that our children at the school bus stops must be protected from these ruthless bandito deer!
    By the way for anyone interested, the link for Grand Teton N.P. under the regional webcam category has moved to:


    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Thank you Chris Harbin,

      Keeping those web cam links working is kind of hard to do. They go down and get changed a lot.

  31. jon Avatar

    Some good comments from Jon Marvel in this article Ralph. Hunters need to stop being catered to.

  32. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    “jon Says:
    March 21, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    Awesome article and good find Jeff E. lol”

    Ya, to bad it is not anymore honest than the BS the anti wolf side likes to promote..

  33. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    I’m pretty sure that beast is a Columbia blacktail, not a whitetail.

    For those with an interest in the Alaska wolves or the intensive management program, but focused the Chignik case, there have been some recent developments –
    The wolf buffer zone by Denali National Park has been argued over for years, expanded and contracted, but was recently eliminated (NPS had submitted a proposal to expand it):
    The apparent swing vote was a recently appointed (but not yet confirmed) new member of the Board of Game:
    A long-time ADF&G wildlife biologist, with a career history mostly in Southeast, was replaced as Wildlife Conservation director by a founding member of SFW from South-Central who was appointed as a deputy commissioner in charge of active management during the Palin Administration:
    Collared research wolves from the Yukon-Charley Perserve were shot during predator control operations aimed at increasing the 40 mile caribou herd:

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      SEAK Mossback,

      I thought that’s what it looked like too, but it is so big, not like any of them I’ve seen even for a fine buck.

  34. Bob Avatar

    Here’s a good example of how to slant the news by simply not giving all the facts that were available. Then ending with a hard, right hook! The Title to the Article is: ELK COUNT IN YNP DOWN

  35. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks Bob,

    The media is really getting slanted on this. They only take part of the statistics. They only focus on hunting units, or even sub-units, where elk numbers have dropped. They never feature places where elk numbers have increased as the wolf population has grown. They crudely confuse correlation with cause.

    It’s very frustrating, but then paid American media is in a big decline.

  36. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I agree with SEAK Mossback that it is not a white-tailed deer, but a black-tail deer.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      that video was posted with the label white tail but what type probably is not as important as the fact that they can be dangerous under certain circumstances just like any other wild anaiamal.

      here is a bit more

    2. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Of course we could focus on just whitetail I suppose

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      …and I guess this could have been Mule, white tail, or black tail, or maybe all three…….


    4. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Of course with an animal this dangerous we could go on and on


    5. jon Avatar

      Someone on that last link posted a funny comment to that story Jeff.

      All hunters should take notice. Deer are fighting back. Now this guy knows what it is to be hunted.

  37. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    I would agree, that is a black tail, we used to see them that size and bigger around the Trout Lake area in Washington, and I did some more research on this and it was the same video they had on TV, including many News outlets a few years ago, and it was found out that it was a set up, and the people were prosecuted for animal cruelty and a couple of other charges pertaining to a hoax

  38. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I would think that most everybody knows that wild animals can be dangerous, it is only those taking an extreme position, no matter the side, that try to scare people with that knowledge..

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      at the risk of an exercise in futility;
      If you go back to my first post on this subject at the end of it you will notice I posted a smiley face. the post was satire but with another propose too, which was to hopefully make a point of how idiotic it is to go to the extreme position. The next post of the video was just icing on the cake.
      Ralph got it.
      A couple other people got it, probably more
      You did not get it.
      Somehow I am not surprised.

  39. jburnham Avatar

    Wolf’s effects hotly debated

    One of the better news stories on wolves I’ve seen in a while.

    1. JB Avatar

      Agreed. Kudos to the author.

    2. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson

      Concerning wolf numbers and the supposed causes for declines or “complicated issues” and “grey” reasons I say they all are just shooting in the dark,….. biologists, ranchers and outfitters…. until they understand how an elk “herd” without human intervention reacts to wolves.

      This means there needs to be a study of Yellowstones 300 head strong Delta indigenous elk herd. These elk stay in the Park year round and get hunted (poached) minimally. Thus one has a pre whiteman, and his rifles, conditions…which of course means a lot more males in this herd than all those dysfunctional herds everyone is crying wolf about.

      What I saw pre wolf and post wolf reintroduction was pretty much staus quo in this herd. Of course, I firmly believe the reason is this herd has all the male defenders, scouts and deflectors in place.

      The outfitter who said the elk are being harassed all the time is full of it. The wolves are smarter than to keep the elk on constant alert. This is why they make those 7-10 day circle hunts…allow the elk to settle down no different than this outfitter does with hunting. To pressure elk every day means the elk leave the country…something every outfitter knows happens if he overhunts. To say the elk are being continually harassed means this guy doesn’t believe what he practises with his hunter-elk “management”. Thus he is full of it when saying the wolves keep the elk on edge.

      And with the G&F and the Park saying it is “difficult to get to the bottom of it” I say it actually is pretty easy…start managing elk herds for infrastructure instead of confinement pig farms and everything will turn out A-OK.

  40. Bob Avatar

    Link to the story in the JH News & Guide re. the outfitters vs wolves;

  41. Mtn Mama Avatar
    Mtn Mama

    Wolf shot in Ohio. Could be a true Gray Wolf that traveled from Michigan- in which case wouldnt it be an endangered species in Ohio? Even if it was a hybrid it didn’t do anything to warrant being shot.

    1. Jamie Archer Avatar
      Jamie Archer

      Why is it that the first thing people do when they spot what they believe to be a wolf is grab a gun and shoot to kill?

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Jamie Archer,

      It is possible they don’t. Those who are happy to see the wolf or whatever they see keep their mouths shut.

  42. jon Avatar


    You were in this article Ralph.

    But harvest them they are. Garten and Jon Rachael from Idaho Fish and Game say, even though elk struggle in the Lolo region, they’re doing well in most of the rest of Idaho. I guess the hunters would want you to believe different.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Thanks. I didn’t know the interview had run.

      I think I went over most of the same ground as the others he quoted, but my unique contribution was that the facts no longer matter to most of the really committed on the wolf/elk issue.

      These people know the answer before any studies are done and will know the same answer after they have been done.

  43. jon Avatar

    No problem Ralph.

  44. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Sr. Reporter: What Thorry Smith’s jaguar admission means, and might mean

    “The actions Smith describes certainly seem like they could interest federal prosecutors (not sure if they amount to a crime, though I suppose there could be an evidence-tampering charge), but he has an out, as my colleague Tony Davis reported. Because his employer required Smith to tell all, that material can’t be used in a criminal investigation.”


  45. Neal Wickham Avatar
    Neal Wickham

    I hope something comes of this study (see below). It is a remarkably large ($620,000) study to determine exactly what happens to water diverted from streams. It has never been studied in detail and so, is largely unknown. They chose as their study area the Henry’s Fork drainage in SE Idaho. There was a story about it in the Rexburg Standard Journal today.

    There were, according to my grandparents, many great fishing streams in the valley near St. Anthony and Rexburg, Idaho at one time including the lower Henry’s Fork, the North Fork of the Teton, the South Fork of the Teton, Moody Creek, the Texas Slough and many other more minor sloughs. Further, these streams meander in the flood plain of the valley and are dozens of miles long and could provide a lot of fishing and floating.

    Diversions for irrigation have about destroyed the fisheries in these steams. Water is diverted to where they are a trickle in late summer and the low flows warms the water and kills the fishery. It would be great if the fishery and riparian areas could be restored for these meandering streams. It would make the area much more beautiful and interesting. It may not require any kind of sacrifice but only require a more modern canal/pipeline system with more intelligent water management.

    There are many streams in agricultural valleys throughout the West that are in similar condition. It will be interesting to see what the findings of the study are and to see if the communities and governments can come together and improve some of the streams as fisheries.


    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      The sad fact is that this subject has been studied, in its various parts, for the last forty years. With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, EPA, with the help of the states (universities got research money too), they began doing water basin plans under Section 303 of the act, and state and local governments were given federal money to look even closer at land use, water quality-quantity relationships and human impacts under Section 208. The associations of local governments were to come up with ways of making water bodies suitable for fisheries, recreation and water supplies. Overlayed on this study framework is the prior appropriation water rights allocation system and a set of priorities that places agriculture and municipal use as higher uses than for fisheries. Essentially in most states it is legal to dry up the stream unless water can be set aside for fisheries. The concept is called “opportunities for in-stream flow.” It has been studied to death.

      Water quality in the West is inextricably linked to water quantity. Water is in short supply and some years even shorter. It gets reused over and over as it moves down a basin. The problem is state water laws and money to buy or otherwise appropriate water to keep it in-stream. The problem is most streams are over-appropriated already, and there are isues of enforcement to keep the water in the stream by those who would illegally divert what remains.

      Water conservation has been a part of that study outline for those 40 years. Conservation is good. Again, the issue is $$. How do you get a farmer to conserve water in the West. In some areas you need alot of water just to leach the salts from the soil for plant growth and higher crop yields. It cost alot to keep ditches from leaking, and for labor to change sprinklers, portable mains and headgates. The alternative is to pull the land from production and not use the water for agriculture. Again a $$ issue.

      I have to wonder what these folks will find that is different. It’s been done before, but just not on the Henrys Fork. I wish them luck in finding a solution that is implementable.

  46. pointswest Avatar

    I will need to read more but I believe what is different about this study is that the scope is specific towards the irrigation system efficiency. For example, how much water is lost due to seepage area wide…of water diverted from the river, how much is actually used by the crops farmers raise?

    These canal systems have returns. That is, they divert water into the canals continuously but if the water is not used by farmers, it is returned to the stream several miles below the point of diversion. How much is used on crop? How much seeps into the aquifer? How much is wasted growing weeds and bushes. How much evaporates? How do you model this? How much could be saved with lined canals or with pipelines? How much could be saved with sprinkler or drip systems? How much money invested in new irrigation infrastructure would return a net savings in both water and money? I think these things are largely unknown.

    It is a large study at three years and $650,000. There is also a study looking at additional storage on the Henry’s Fork (and Teton) drainage that is $800,000 and it is a major study.

    By the way, I think our nation’s streams and lakes have improved vastly in the past 40 years and the cleanup was reletively painless…especially considering what we got in return. It just required a little education and understanding.

  47. pointswest Avatar

    The SJ article yesterday stated, “Van Kirk says when it’s done, the study will be groundbreaking.
    “This is the first time at this level of detail on this scope that it’s been done,” he said. “It’s new stuff, pretty important, and could be in the national spotlight.”

  48. Bob Avatar

    Article in the JH News & Guide re: the antiwolf rally last Sat.


  49. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    I understand what you are describing. This is a giand input- output hydrologic model. It would be interesting to see the detailed study design. Evapo-transpiration crop studies have been done for years. There are well recognized formulas for different crops, weeds, soils, and climatic conditions. There have also been many studies to look at how much water moves through the soil profile and either goes to shallow or even deep groundwater, or is returned to the stream by subsurface, or surface return flows – looking at gains and losses in the system. Key to any study of this type is having good historic background data on the specific hydrologic system being studied – soils, shallow geology, flow and recharge characteristics, as well as the canal delivery systems. Well placed water measurement devices with good time series records throughout the watershed are essential. I expect that was a big factor in choosing the Henry’s Fork, along with the competing water interests, including a fantastic trout stream that would benefit from better water management.

    For implementation of any improvement programs the key would be the cost for structural things like lining canals, or replacing with pipes, also “best management practices” to manage water quantity and crop management. It all boils down to who pays for and who benefits from any improvements. That is why the study has a social – economic component.

    Don’t know what to say about additional water storage. It typically has its supporters and detractors. Sometimes having a water reserve to augment during low flow periods is a blessing for keeping water in-stream, if you can get past the legal beneficial use and envirnmental issues.

    After writing the comment above, I found this link that is a very brief description of the Humboldt project, which is being funded by USDA. It is unclear as to the specific program:


    Actually I am surprised there is no EPA water quality money in this study.

    I would tend to agree with you that there have been a number of freshwater lake, stream and saltwater clean-up successses. The Clean Water Act was largely responsible for that. There has also been a fair amount of taxpayer money wasted, especially in the West, because the regulators didn’t understand water quantity-quality relationships, and unique background water quality or hydrologic system conditions in some watersheds.

    We should all wish these professors and their eager young graduate students success in this endeaver.

    1. pointswest Avatar

      I just did a little measuring in Google Earth and the lower Henry’s Fork from the Chester Dam to the confluence with the South Fork is at least 36 miles long counting the bends and switchbacks. The North Fork of the Teton from its divergence from the South Teton to its confluence with the Henry’s Fork is 11 miles long. The South Fork of the Teton from its divergence from the North Teton to its confluence with the Henry’s Fork is 21 miles long. The fishable portion of Moody Creek is about 5 miles long. The Texas Slough (main branch) is at least 16 miles long (more counting both branches). The Bannock Jim Slough is at least 10 miles long. The Spring Slough is about 5 miles long.

      This is a total of 104 miles streams in Madison and southern Fremont Counties that are more or less a waste right now. All were, at one time, great fisheries. All are (or were) floatable…or could be floatable again (except maybe Moody Creek).

      Beaver Dick’s, a famous mountain man who lived in this area in the 1870’s, wrote journals and describes the wildlife and fishing. He reported in his journals catching many trout in these streams. He lived most of the year, west of Rexburg, between the branches of the Teton River. The area was teaming with fish, game, and birds. I know of a man who fed his family during the Great Depression by catching fish from the Texas Slough. My father did well fishing the Texas Slough in the 60’s.

      The area near the confluence of the Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake was famous among mountain men. It was known as the “forks country” or as Jarvis Market from which Market Lake derives its name. Jarvis was a French trapper working for the Hudson Bay Company in the 1820’s and the forks country was his favorite for finding something to eat since you could come there and find any kind of meat known…buffalo, elk, venison, antelope, crane, goose, duck, grouse, or trout. The area was like a market for meat. It became known as Jarvis Market and later as Market Lake. The town of Roberts was originally name Market Lake and there is a nearby lake that is still named Market Lake.

      It is a beautiful area…a large floodplain with many meandering streams all lined with cottonwoods and brush. The steams all wrap around two small volcanoes named the Menan Buttes. The Henry’s Fork in the Egin Bench area is very beautiful. There is a cottonwood forest and a large riparian area that is full of wildlife. You can see the Teton Peaks from there and a high water table (known as sub) and many springs and marshes keep it green all summer long. It is one of my favorite areas in the world.

      I would live to see all these streams restored and protected. Imagine what it would do for the area. It would increase real estate values and simply make Rexburg a more desirable area in which to live and raise kids. I think the people would go for it. I hope they do.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      You are absolutely right. These rivers, streams and sloughs of the upper Snake River Plain are remarkably below their potential for fish and almost every species of native wildlife.

  50. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100323-bigger-better-testes-competition/ Here is an interesting article that may have some relevance to Bighorn Rams. Successful breeding in animals may not always be related to horn size.

  51. dewey Avatar

    And now, for some comic relief, a brief digression to of all places, Fox News, for a story about a Coyote.

    A Coyote ” running amuck ” on the streets of New York City , last seen in TriBeCa after loping onto Manhattan Island thru the Holland Tunnel…” Running amuck “. Their words, not mine….


  52. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    More comic relief, or maybe not. Humboldt County, marijuana growing mecca of Northern CA, is worried about a state-wide ballot vote for legalization. If it passes, they fear corporate agri-business will wipe out the small grower. Others speak of branding the Humboldt County product, like a state approved wine appellation or growing region to ensure product quality.


    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Interesting they were chewing on irrigation hoses. What would attract them to that? I would also think they wouldn’t want to be around mink since they could smell pretty bad.

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Wolves killing (and eating or not) miniature horses makes for a lively dialog on their Discussion forum. One has to wonder how these stock will be valued, and whether the owners will be reimbursed by someone for their market value loss.

  53. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Just out of curiosity, is it very common to have horses killed by wolves? I would think they would put up a pretty good fight but then again wolves eat moose. It would be interesting if they were in the Red Desert and started preying on wild horses.

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      In early April of 1976, I was returning to Fairbanks, Alaska should have between Whitehorse and I think Haynes Junction, its been so long ago, I can not remember. I had just past some cabins on the Alcan Highway and looked to my left and there was a big black wolf laying down in the trees. I stop and to look and he got up limping very badly, so I returned to the cabins and knock on the door. I ask the gentleman if he had shot and wounded a wolf, he said no but that a black wolf had been after his horses and he felt that a horse had kicked the wolf.

      He got his rifle, gets in my VW van and off we go wolf hunting. We go up and down the road and no wolf. I let him off about a quarter of a mile west of his cabin. He said “if you see that wolf, shoot him”. About another quarter mile here is the wolf limping very, very bad. Was I was going to shoot him? Hell no, not in a foreign country without a license and along the highway. The last I saw the wolf he had crossed the road and in my rear mirror the man was walking east gun over his shoulder. The wolf had been very badly hurt by the horse.

      Onward to Fairbanks and the pipeline. Those were the days — no mortgage, health insurance $20 a month and new adventuresevery day.

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      The individual state annual wolf management reports usually give a tally of dog and livestock mortalities taken for that reporting period. If I recall correctly, from my past viewings, there are usually only a couple of horses, burros, mules or llamas included. Not all that common, really.

      A wolf attacking a full size, healthy, horse from the rear – an attack style used alot- will get a face or chest full of hoof even on the run, unlike with an elk. I don’t know the biomechanics of a horse kick, but there is alot of force in one, and it can be very quick. A young colt might be a different matter, if mama can’t help. We just found out miniatures are not much of a match.

  54. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Pro Wolf

    My horses at Thorofare grazed all around an active wolf den for several summers. These were pretty seasoned and confident stock however, as compared to many of the outfitter horses that were mixes of new, old and abused animals. Thus sometimes their stock would panic and flush themselves out of the back country. Some outfitters had calm stock but the economic push to ram as many trips and miles on these horses was the norm.

    The summer outfitters complained a lot and used wolves as the blame whenever they had inexperienced rangers wanting to cite for stock trampling camp areas…or not moving camp to the next designated site on their permit.

    As for my horses, the only thing they really feared was grizzly bears and then if in close contact one would hear the loud ringing of bells coming fast to the cabin in the middle of the night.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Bob Jackson,

      How often did outfitters have really bad accidents with the horses?

      I know you are familiar with the trail in Deer Creek Gorge for those coming into the Thorofare out of the South Fork of the Shoshone.

      When I’d go up that canyon, I had to wonder. Of course, a lot of the clients were walking their horses, but not all.

    2. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson


      To answer your question. Deer Ck. as the main entry and exit for humans and elk from the Cody side of the Thorofare,…had a lot of traffic for such a dangerous access. The guides and outfitters always had lots of “stories” to tell. I think it made them feel more like one bucking the wilds. Thus, they didn’t take all the precautions and utilize safety as much as they should have. It was more fun talking of pack horses tumbling over the side and ending up at the bottom than stringing less animals together and hiring another packer to take a second string over. (they used break aways a lot …some free trailed if pack was experienced….the same as I did when packing and leading on high exposure areas but sometimes break aways aren’t enough if the angle of the pull means little resistance before balance is lost).

      Summer pack trips were not as risky as fall outfitting since the traditional lay over camps near the pass were abandoned …in order to churn out more hunting clients in a given time. Thus a lot more clients, most all out of shape, sat on their horses for 30 miles, including Deer Pass. Outfitters had to start going with a number of draft horses for these 300 pound hunters but since these horses weren’t as sure footed more accidents happened.

      It is just one chain of cause and effect after another for these outfitters on this route. The bottom line was their insurance rates went up.

      I never heard of a person getting killed on this route, however…just busted ribs and broken legs. Horses on the other hand, can’t deal with those broken legs, thus the guides would talk of going down and finishing off with a pistol if they were still alive. Then it was retrieving the pack contents ….if it was necessary for the trip in (not the trip out however) …..if there was time. A lot of times it was leaving this chore to the flunkies. Hunters have to get in ya know in that one day, bad weather assault on Deer Pass.

      If the snows come in then a guy paid by several camps would be hired to camp up there and shovel those difficult areas.

      The early season horn hunters could not access this maintained route however. Then it was lunging and sliding above the trail, the route the elk historically took. Still more difficult but ya know ya gotta get in on the south side of the Trident to stash the horns of those wintering elk, whether it was in the the Park or not…ya know.

      I tried several times to get the Park to helicopter me in early season to nail these ass holes but it never came about. The only satisfaction I got…and this was hollow…was these guys lost a fair number of stock going this route and had to walk out. For them it was just another story to tell the swillers at the Irma in Cody, however.

      One thing all these stories, and more, let me in on was the minds of these kinds of cowboys…and the physical abuse they wanted to inflict on themselves. For me it meant they would go to the extreme in accessing the Park through very difficult terrain to poach. This fact was lost to most all rangers who “thought” they were on poacher patrol ….. and meant a lot of these drug store cowboys got away with it.

      I did lose one pack horse in a 100 foot free fall following these poachers but I considered this very minimal damage for all the years I did it. It was amazing what I saw happen to their stock, however. Gear left all over on rock slopes and blood from a lot of horses. It was very sick, the whole thing…but they got a rush out of it…a rush because it was the only way losers…rejects from society… can get any satisfaction.

  55. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    Interesting video of the miniature horses and their owners after the wolf attacks.


  56. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    I am including this under the wildlife news heading since it is news in the context of the just released MT annual wolf report, which I consulted after ProWolf’s question in the post above.

    This is from the Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2009 Annual Report, at p. 32:

    “Montana wolves routinely encounter livestock on both public grazing allotments and private
    land. Wolves are opportunistic predators, most often seeking wild prey. However, some wolves
    “learn” to prey on livestock and teach this behavior to other wolves. Wolf depredations are very
    difficult to predict in space and time. Between 1987* and 2009, the vast majority of cattle and
    sheep wolf depredation incidents confirmed by WS occurred on private lands. The likelihood of
    detecting injured or dead livestock is probably higher on private lands where there was greater
    human presence than on remote public land grazing allotments. The magnitude of underdetection
    of loss on public allotments was not known. Nonetheless, most cattle depredations
    occurred in the spring or fall months while sheep depredations occurred more sporadically
    throughout the year.”

    (*Presume the 1987 date includes the repopulating wolves from Canada, rather than the 1995 reintroduced wolves.)


    This statement surprised me, as I was under the impression the majority of depredation was on public grazing allotment lands, rather than private. Don’t know what the ID or WY annual reports say.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Addendum: NRM livestock depredation private or public lands.

      WY: Statistic is for 2009 only.

      “Location of Livestock Depredations
      Land Status: Forty-five percent (n=97) of all confirmed wolf depredations (20 cattle and
      195 sheep) were on public land and 55% (n=118) of all depredations were on private
      land. Seventy-five percent (n=15) of cattle depredations were on public land and 25%
      (n=5) of cattle depredations were on private property. Forty-two percent of sheep
      depredations (n=82) occurred on public land and 58% sheep depredations (n=113)
      occurred on private land (Figure 11).”

      Source: 2009 WY Annual Report, p. 27,


      IDAHO: There does not appear to be any relevant discussion in the report allocating depredation losses to public or private lands. However, geographic groupings of losses to cattle and sheep suggest large majority is on public lands. See Wolf Cons. & Mgt. Report for Idaho 2009, pp. 14-16.

      Source: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/annualrpt09/Idaho-Wolf-Progress-Report-2009.pdf

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar



      Like you, I’d bet the percentage on public lands in Idaho is much higher than in Wyoming because there is a higher percentage of public land in Idaho.

      I have also noticed that the base property of grazing permittees in Idaho is usually much smaller than in Wyoming. Sometimes a base of only 20 acres is used to control 20,000 to 80,000 acres of public land.

    3. Layton Avatar

      “Sometimes a base of only 20 acres is used to control 20,000 to 80,000 acres of public land.”

      I know that sometimes a pretty small base is used to “control” a large amount of public land – usually a strategically located private piece that controls access. AND sometimes there are no trespassing signs where they aren’t legal. (I’d really like to know if there has EVER been a citation issued for that)

      I used to have an uncle over around Durkee, Oregon that managed to block about 8000 acres of Taylor Grazing with a few (invalid) signs and about 640 acres of private land.

      Another thing about this is that a lot of people (on both sides) don’t realize that a grazing allotment is NOT grounds to control access to anything.

      But — 20 acres controlling 80,000?? I’d have to see that.

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I would say that was true in the East Fork of the Salmon River for about 15 years where a small base property through which the road passed was used to block access to the entire upper East Fork to all who didn’t want to beat through the brush and ford the river.

      Finally the Forest Service built the road around the property and the irritation is now just a memory to older guys like me.

  57. dewey Avatar

    If you don’t want the neighborhood wolves bothering your stock , especially cattle, get a Guard Mule. Not kidding.

    The 7 D Ranch in Sunlight Basin NW of Cody keeps a few horses and a few heifers over the winter. They have a resident wolf pack, or two , since there are many hundreds of wintering elk in their immediate surrounds, and the ranch is 20 miles from Yellowstone’s east rim. The 7D calved a few heifers in the open pasture of Wolf Country in front of god, the wolves, and the Absaroka Elk Ecology Study watchers last year when I paid an April 1 visit. In one short arc of the binoculars, you could sweep from four moose in the willows past 300 elk on the openfaced hills , a few scatered deer, 18 wild turkeys(!) , to the 7D’s forty acre fenced field with a few heifers and calves and horses, and Big Red the Belgian—all under the watchful gaze of four wolves. Wolves have been denning and whelping near the 7D since the early days of wolf reintroduction, and they’ve lost some small number of cattle to them over the years as the learning curve imparted new lessons. To be fair to the wolves, the Sunlight packs are small in number, about 4 to the pack , so they aren’t capable of mounting the big tactical multi-pronged flanking and parry hunts of packs with larger numbers of hunters.

    The 7D is not down on wolves like most ranches in the Cody zone. Not at all. Having tried various nonlethal means of wolf control, the big red Mule they keep turned out with the heifers has proven to be mighty good at keeping the wolves out. They swear by it. That red Mule is very protective of his friends, and has some serious foot-lbs. of explosive torque in those big feet. Just ballparking here, allow for one big Mule for every four wolves …

    Horses lost to wolves are almost always taken in enclosed pens or small pastures, usually at night. In open country I’d think a horse would be formidable to wolves. You’d think with all the backcountry horsemen criscrossing the Absarokas inbetwixt a good number of wolf packs, there would be anecdotes galore of horses vs. wolves. But there are not. And believe me, if some outfitter type or modern day Jeremiah Johnson in the Cody area had a run-in with wolves mixed up with his horses, you’d hear no end of it and the tale would grow in the telling.

    The silence is deafening.

    1. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson

      I agree with mules being used to guard. One of my mules in Thorofare was particularly good at it. He practised on every moose that came by but the real protection came on the trails at night. This is when he wanted to go ahead of my riding horse. thus I let him and he patrolled point, staying maybe 20 yards in the lead. He was very effective in taking griz off the trail. I’d barely or not even see him and he’d let out a snort and chase something into the woods maybe 50 yds. Then it was back on the trail till the next bear. One time I had to ride 13 miles in the dark to catch up to some poachers. My mule, Punkin, cleared out 3 bears on the way.

      Yes, mules make better guard dogs than dogs do.

  58. outsider Avatar

    If wovles dont have the impact on horses like they do other livestock, then why don’t we try and get ranchers to replace their cows, sheep, and goats with horses? I know this sounds kinda funny but think about it. We already have wild horses on the range and they dont seem to do as much damge as the cows and sheep do. I for one would rather see horses when I’m traveling around and about than sheep or cows. The horses would spend their entire lives on the free range, we could do away with mega feedlots, the massive amounts of drugs and chemicals that are pumped into the food supply. Horse meat is a leaner and healthier form of protein, they eat a ton of it in europe. It would take some work on our part to get people used to the idea of eating horse meat, but with its health beneifits should be fairly easy to do. We would also need to get the current livestock slaughter plants retrofited to handed the horses instead of cows, sheep, and goats. I know this idea sounds crazy at first glance but stop and really think about it, it just might be a win win for everyone .

  59. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    Not a new concept, I ate a lot of horse meat growing up, there were several horse meat markets in the town I grew up in. You could actually buy horse meat at the major grocery stores. I am sure you would never convince ranchers to switch over though. Personally I would rather see them switch over to Bison..

  60. JimT Avatar

    Montana announces a three year elk study to determine why elk numbers are falling in the Bitteroots..


    1. Layton Avatar

      Usually it’s the hunters that are putting up the $$ for studies like this. If the “wolfies” really believe that old Canis Lupus really isn’t damaging the elk herd maybe they should contribute a bit of money from their legal slush fund to enable this study. 8)

  61. JimT Avatar

    Yeah, like the ranchers should be grown ups and deal with the inherent risks in their profession instead of taking Defenders money and then doing everything they can to exterminate the wolf.

    I would be all for an increase in general taxes to help fund the Fish and Game programs in any state, but it would mean the hunters and the outfitters would have to stand in line with the rest of us. No more special access, Layton, by those groups to state offices. What would it cost me a year…25 bucks? 50 bucks? Worth every penny to have a balance in the management policies of a state fish and game department. Instead, we have departments who effectively cater to the “elkies” . So, you tell me…would you be willing to go along with such a proposal, or not?

    Stop whining. And not to throw cold water on the idea, but let’s see the design study and measures to ensure lack of bias built into it so credibility is ensured. Surely not too much to ask.

    1. Layton Avatar


      Get up on the wrong side of the bed Jim??

      OK, just to humor you. First of all why in the hell would I be willing to see a bunch of people with ADMITTED bias against hunters and ADMITTED and bragged about) bias for a major apex predator that is a major detriment (yea, you’ll like that one) toward ungulates have an even bigger influence on Fish and Game programs?? Maybe that makes sense to you, but it doesn’t to me.

      “Departments that cater to the “elkies”?? Well I’ll be damned — a state department that’s doing it’s job!! I’ve got a flash for you there Jim — read their mission, try it for comprehension — It’s covered there — along with the wolves AND other non-game species.

      As for “taking Defender’s money”. Maybe you should talk to a few of the folks that have gotten some of that money. Those $$ were damn hard to get WHEN THE WOLVES WERE LISTED — Now they don’t pay anything. What was the estimate for how many critters were lost for every one that was proven to be a wolf loss?? Wasn’t it something like 7 to 1??

      Who’s whining? I don’t think that mentioning maybe some of the “other” side putting up a few $$ might be an opportunity to prove some of the things that they are fond of saying about how all the damage that wolves do to ungulate populations is compensatory, etc., is whining. I was simply pointing out the opportunity.

      Your last statement about the design of the study is just crap. The lack of credibility and bias that you mention is (if it does in fact exist) NOT the sole property of the side that does NOT support losing the ungulate population that has been built up over the years just so that some people can hear hear a wolf howl!!

    2. JimT Avatar

      As Steinfeld used to say…Yada Yada Yada…~S~.

      Yeah, didn’t think you would go for the sharing thing, but thought I would ask. Face it, Layton, you like having the special influence the hunting and outfitters have, but you whine about the objections raised about managing only for trophy species, and the hell with anything else that impinges on that revenue stream. Mission statements are just words; it is what happens on the ground that matters with any agency, and the fish game agencies have made it clear who comes first, and you have made it clear you like the status quo..underfunded agencies beholden to a few groups.

      If the “regular people” put money up, are they just supposed to sit back if they think the design is biased, or would you “allow them” to have their say. And you can disagree with asking about the design study, but it is the only way you get reliable results AND get credibility from both sides. I am betting you would against allowing any green type biologists to have a part in the study….

      What happens if the study shows that elk numbers are down mostly due to habitat degradation and disease caused by drought and climate change? Will you accept the wolf then? Fat chance…

  62. Devin Avatar

    Here’s a gross side-effect of dairy farming in Indiana

    “Manure Raises New Stink: Giant Gas Bubbles in Indiana Dairy Farm’s Waste Pond Frighten Neighbors”


    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Talk about everyone being in deep shit!!

      This is an example why we need better regulation of CAFOs in Idaho, and yet there is no movement toward that with the current governor and legislature.

    2. Ken Cole Avatar

      Al Franken wrote about this phenomenon in one of his books. He called them turd geysers 😉

    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      I am laughing so hard I can’t type. Love Franken and his way with words.

      If it weren’t for the real danger, I could see this guy in his little paddle boat, sucking on a cigarette leaning over the side with his little knife. KABOOOM! Splat, splat, pitter patter of green rain for several hundred yards in all directions, and the wonderful airborne organic odors wafting in the breeze.

      I’m thinking a shotgun filled with rocksalt from a ways off aimed at the bubble might be more interesting and not so dangerous. Not enough velocity after it hits the poop to damage the liner, but enough bang to pop the bubble.

  63. Layton Avatar


    As to the study — you can yap and bellyache all you want, but I’m under the impression that this will be a real live, peer reviewed study. You can condemn it before it starts to your hearts content, but it doesn’t mean much. The folks that will either agree or disagree with it will make that decision — not a lawyer and a computer engineer.

    ” Layton, you like having the special influence the hunting and outfitters have, but you whine about the objections raised about managing only for trophy species, and the hell with anything else that impinges on that revenue stream.”

    That one confuses me. I surely don’t have ANY influence, special or otherwise, and I don’t know what you’re talking about with “impinging on a revenue stream”.

    “Will you accept the wolf then? Fat chance…”

    Now here is one that shows just how far off the mark you really are.

    First of all “accept the wolf”?? I don’t have a choice, they are a fact of life if you live here and spend any time in the woods.

    My beef with the wolves is not that they are here. It is the FACT that they are here and STILL unmanaged!! Sure, Wildlife Services puts down a few every year — the ones that are out and out being a pain in the ass for everyone to see by killing people’s property.

    What about the other 98%?? They are out there doing their thing and making babies. They are completely unmolested and going their merry way killing at their leisure and raising all sorts of cain with everything from pets to livestock and even, it seems, to people.

    IF there were some modicum of control, IF there were something happening to control the population (please, don’t try to tell me that the counts are anywhere close. For instance, they don’t have any idea how many are in the “frank”), and IF there was any sort of inkling on the horizon that one day this critter could be managed like any other animal in the woods, then I personally would feel much better and maybe even tone down the rhetoric a little.

    That does NOT seem to be happening, unless you can point me to something that would indicate otherwise. I feel that there will be court cases going on for the next 20 years.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      What in the hell are you talking about Layton?

      “It is the FACT that they are here and STILL unmanaged!!”

      Like hell they aren’t managed.

    2. Jay Avatar

      Close to 300 DOCUMENTED dead wolves (who knows what the true number is) from a population of 800-1000 isn’t management? You couldn’t be any more biased, could you Layton. So comparatively speaking, in 2007-2008 441 lions were killed in Idaho, out of a population of what they claim is at least a couple thousand. If you crunch the numbers, wolves are more intensively managed than lions Layton, a predator which is an obligate carnivore of elk and deer. How come you’re not screaming bloody murder over lions?

      Also, I’m still waiting for an answer from you on whether you think WS should be gunning elk from helicopters that depredate on crops?

  64. Cindy Avatar

    “What about the other 98%?? They are out there doing their thing and making babies. They are completely unmolested and going their merry way killing at their leisure and raising all sorts of cain with everything from pets to livestock and even, it seems, to people”

    I’ve tried to make a habit of leaving your comments where they belong – alone! But this one is just too over the top.
    For starters I believe the proper statement would be “having pups” wouldn’t it? Not being an elitist just some good old fashioned proper English. Next, “Killing at their leisure”, what in world do you expect wildlife to do anyway? This statement gets me more than all the other rhetoric. I’ve had a beautiful Great Gray Owl in my front yard, eating voles for almost 5 days straight, or should I say owls out killing at their leisure. And then there are those pesty bears, and darned coyotes, and annoying foxes, and stealthy cats, and mean badgers and stinky skunks and sharp porcupines, not to mention the squirrel murdering ravens. Of course we cannot forgot the ravenous Robins pulling the heads off worms for the next two months. It’s called Wilderness for a reason – please try and understand that some day.

    1. Layton Avatar


      OK, if “making babies” offends your sensibilities somehow. In the future I’ll use “having pups”. Anything to get along.


  65. Cindy Avatar

    Well it’s just so often us wolfies are accused of anthropomorphism in these discussions, the word babies just didn’t deem appropriate:)

  66. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    ++And not to throw cold water on the idea, but let’s see the design study and measures to ensure lack of bias built into it so credibility is ensured. Surely not too much to ask.++

    As the article you found for us stated, Dr. Mark Hebblewhite from University of Montana will be involved in the research. He is a well respected ungulate – predator biologist, and has done a number of elk – wolf predation studies, including predation risk avoidance. He also knows a bit about GPS collars, applications and limitations. He has done alot of work on elk in Banff National Park. He even has a couple of papers early in his career with my favorite -let’s not let bias get in the way- independent scientist, Dr. Paul, “I study the arcane and make it up as I go along if it helps wolves,” Paquet.

    This is a big enough study that lots of eyes will be looking at its design and implementation, as well as reviewing interim and final results.

    No doubt, some pro-wolf and anti-wolf folks, long on passion, but short on credentials and research skills, will be looking over the shoulders of the academic experts and the state. I can predict already they will be telling the researchers they are doing it all wrong, if it shows wolves are having (or are not having, in the case of the anti’s) an impact on ungulate populations and behavior.

    By the way, I was looking at one of Hebblewhite’s papers that had a little background on wolf harassment of ungulates that caused them to loose weight from being run and on the lookout for winte predators – wolves. Turns out some earlier researchers determined that winter deaths from this wolf-caused weakened condition was treated as compensatory mortality, rather than additive mortality (more directly associated with killing of the prey).

    It is not a direct kill by a wolf, but a death that is more likely than not caused by the wolf (say its weight is down 100 pound before it should be during winter). If you do a “but for” the presence of the wolf chasing it, would the ungulate death have occurred? If the answer is yes, then the wolf should rightfully get credit as an additive mortality. That doesn’t happen because it does not meet scientific method protocol to prove an individual animal was killed by wolves.

    1. Jay Avatar

      WM, we’ve gone around on this before, but elk only run from wolves? How would Hebblewhite parse out the caloric loss from elk running from the hunting masses, other predators, etc.? MTFWP has stated that humans play a greater role in pushing elk around than wolves; further, how many more hunters are in an area compared to how many wolves? A pack of wolves can only be 10 places at once–hunters pretty well spread themselves across the landscape, so I’d like to know how Mark decides what amount of weight loss is from humans, and that from wolves? Let me ask you this (and answer honestly): lets say you’re an elk–would you rather take your chances with a pack of woves in your home range, or a bunch of guys with scoped rifles and binoculars?

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      With all due respect, but yet a little irritation at your defensive posture, read the print. –It’s ADDITIVE! And the wolf doesn’t get proper credit. There are no hunters running elk during the dead of the winter in deep snow that may cause some not to make it through winter, and that was the focus of my comment.

      You do raise a good point, however, which amplifies the effect. I am glad you brought it up. NOW the elk run even more from the hunters, because of their heightened awareness, thinking the noise of a hunter might be a wolf. Thanks for bringing that up. I wouldn’t have thought of it without a little prompting.

    3. JimT Avatar

      You are asking us to somehow accept a change in the reality of the prey-predator relationship. The chase and exhaust dynamic is as old as time. And yet, the elk, and other prey, have continued to survive. If you look at the extinctions or near extinctions of prey animals in the West…bison for example since they are a native species…it is the human element or intrusion into that dynamic that had caused the most extreme changes.

      Face it. The bleak and stark reality here that is causing the hostility between elk fans and wolf fans is that the elk fans are ticked off they don’t get to kill the best and stupidest of the trophy herd, and they are blaming the wolf for this. The HUGE difference is that I am betting 90% or more of hunters who do hold elk licenses don’t NEED the elk meat to make it through the winter. The wolves do. And for me, therein lies the difference in two predators..one by choice, the other by need. From a natural bio-system perspective…the NEEDS have it for me…two legged or four legged.

      So, tell us all, of those of you who hunt, IF you don’t get your elk this winter, will you and your family starve?

    4. Jay Avatar

      WM–well, you did get one thing right: elk do run more from hunters than wolves. I’m guessing here, but what is there, 80-100 thousand hunters in the field in MT during the big game season, versus 700 or so wolves. What’s the biggest threat here…hmmmm, I wonder? And, I’ve yet to see a wolf kill an elk from 300 yards. I’m still waiting for your answer–as an elk, are you going to be more afraid of a hunter with a .300 WSM, or a pack of wolves that may or may not be within 20 miles of you?

    5. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Actually, based on my experience, and others I know, the elk seem to run ALOT more since the wolves arrived in larger numbers in the last four years – at least where I have hunted for the last twenty-two years. Your analysis coimparing say 10 wolves to many multiples of hunters still leaves me with the conclusion the wolves cause elk to run more, and they are spooled and run nearly ALL THE TIME. There is a primordial carryover or residual that keeps the elk on the move from the last wolf encounter. It could be weeks before another attack, but it is still there. I think the science is becoming clearer every day about the predation risk effect, that I keep pounding on – elk on steeper ground at higher elevation eating less nutritious browse, and going into winter with less fat reserve, resulting in lower birth weight calves and fewer successful pregnancies that leads to acceptable calf recruitment (before all the predators get their shot at the young). And, not to re-plow old ground, but the wolves are there 24/7, anywhere the elk seek refuge. If the studies are right, and sarcastic hunter critics claims are accurate in their assertion that hunters are just a bunch of slobs that won’t get off their ATV’s or out of their trucks to wonder more than a hundred yards off a road/trail, then the elk have little to fear from a hunter beyond that boundary. Do remember these hunters are distributed both spatially and through time for like three months with gaps of a week or two between seasons. So, there really aren’t 80,000 hunters in the woods at the same time. And to counter your 300 yard shot crap, I think there have been a number of studies that have shown that most rifle shot elk are killled at signficantly less than 100 yards, which can be done with iron sights. Nobody seems to use them anymore, because unfortunately a scoped gun is easier, and likely results in fewer bad shots. I personally don’t know anybody who owns a WSM, or wants one.



      For a legaly trained mind, your argument shows more emotion than logical construct. In your scenario, the wolf “needs” will continue to expand without limit as their numbers increase. Commensurately, hunter “wants” will have to be reduced to satisfy the ever-expanding wolf needs. At what point, in your world, do wolf needs become saturated? I think I know the answer.

    6. Jay Avatar

      Well WM, I suspect you have never watched wolves and elk interact–I suspect you probably haven’t even seen a wolf, or if you have, very few times. I’ve watched wolves and elk interact on numerous occasions, and they aren’t running around willy nilly like you assert. I won’t go around this anymore with you, because you’re obviously going to cherry pick every research article and publication to back up what you already know: wolves are the problem, humans are wonderful and benign towards elk and deer.

      If there were 9 guys with elk tags that saw 10 elk, and they all dropped to their knees and fired at the same time dropping 9 elk, and the remaining elk ran off up the hill, only to get killed by a wolf, those 9 hunters would all say “godddamned wolves!” You strike me as falling into the category of one of those 9 guys–it’s always the wolf’s/cougar’s/bear’s fault.

    7. Jay Avatar

      You know WM, after thinking about this a bit more, I believe you’re onto something. I recollect that before wolves were on the scene, I used to be able to walk up to placidly grazing elk and kill one with a knife, while the rest stoody curiously watching. I recall watching hunters flock shoot herds of elk, the rest of them standing around watching bemusedly as their herdmates fell around them. THEN, the wolves came, and elk became fearful of humans–no longer could I fill my tag with the flash of a knife blade. Obviously what happened is the elk were exhibiting displaced fear from wolves. That is a brilliant theory–maybe you should get that published?

    8. Cobra Avatar

      We may not starve from not killing an elk but it does make for a lean winter. Many people still need the meat to get through winters and springs, not to mention it is better than any beef in the store. We kill it, we butcher it wrap it, grind it and put it in the freezer, we know were it comes from and what’s been done to it. Watching wolves and elk reacting to one another in yellowstone hardly qualifies you as being a wolf expert. Have you ever hunted elk? Do you hunt at all or are you just another 2 week a year expert that only lives with them around when you come to the woods. I don’t mind having a few wolves around, they’ve changed the habits of elk, deer and moose. Sometimes the wolves have made it easier to elk hunt and sometimes harder. I don’t really care what the science says I see it with my own eyes all the time.

    9. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      You “suspect” wrong. I have seen wolves during hunting season, actually up close and personal. So has one of my hunting partners. We were both astonished at how close they would get. In one instance they didn’t see him from a distance of forty feet as one of them circled an elk wallow, if you know what that is. And, yes they were hunting elk. Only reason they would be at that spot. I have, in eight days of hunting, seen enough fresh and reasonably fresh wolf shit to fill a five gallon bucket. In fact, previously on this post I think I gave a more detailed account our experiences, including follow-up phone calls to the Idaho wolf coordinator, Steve Nadeau, who told me there were no wolves in that area the first year. Interesting, the next year’s wolf report had ranges of three overlapping packs.

      I have also seen wolves in winter, though at greater distances, and yes, even from the air in WY. I am no neophyte, sport.

      As for your personal observations of wolves, you know the behavior of the prey and the predator changes based on whether the wolves are actively hunting at the time of an encounter. Also, the time of year, what the wolves are feeding on, whether the elk are calving or whether it is the dead of winter, when caloric expenditure is conserved.

      I don’t have to “cherry pick” studies. Read enough of the stuff, regardless of the scientists involved and you get a pretty good feeling for what is going on, and when. The biggest myth out there is the one about wolves taking only the weak, injured and old. They take alot of very healthy young elk. The more wolves in an area the greater number of healthy elk or deer they will take. The same is true of wolves and buffalo in Canada; they get alot of the healthy young. The habitat seems to be there to support them, so the question is are the overpopulated, if there is managed hunter harvest? The answer is no. The new question is how many wolves (or other existing predators)should be factored into the equation.

      I don’t hate wolves. I have said that time and again. I just don’t want them in larger numbers.

      And, as for your poorly thought out hypotheticals and stories, they really need some work – you killing an elk with a knife before wolves. Uh huh, sure.

    10. Jay Avatar

      Cobra–spare me the “we hunt elk, so we know what we’re talking about” line…yeah, I hunt elk too. Haven’t bought meat from a store for years–tonight was whitetail steaks. The fact you hunt it doesn’t mean you’re an expert on it. Or have more say in it.

      WM–I guess you failed to pick up on the facetiousness of the hunting elk with a knife stories. I was just going along with your elk-are-afraid-of-people-because-of-wolves “theory”.

    11. Cobra Avatar

      Never claimed to be an expert, just live with them daily and see what’s going on. Glad you hunt so you know what we’re talking about, enjoy the steaks. We’re having the same, whitetail fajitas yum.

    12. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      I guess I missed the jocularity of your “facetious” comment. Must have been buried in the string of vitriol that preceded it. And, yes wild animals do key off of previous encounters with one or more predator species, when reacting to yet another. Their behavior can change very quickly, afterall survival is at stake.

      So, I’ll stick with the theory, that elk are more wary of humans because of wolves in some areas – at the times and locations I have viewed them, during hunting season and during late summer, especially. They take watchful prudence in detecting and avoiding danger which was not present before the wolf showed up. Accordingly, they modify where, how and when they feed, bed and travel.

      There is no other explanation for the changed behavior, that has come about since wolves have become more numerous. If you have a more plausible explanation, please provide one. It is likely, and I have said this before, the interaction one witnesses depends on a lot of different factors, some of which were not present when you are watching wolves and elk interact.

      I thought you were smarter, maybe even a wildlife biologist with field experience, but you keep proving you are not – the smart part, anyway.

  67. jon Avatar

    Very well said JimT. That is the big difference that separates wolves from human hunters. Wolves need the elk to survive, the humans don’t.

  68. Layton Avatar


    “Face it. The bleak and stark reality here that is causing the hostility between elk fans and wolf fans is that the elk fans are ticked off they don’t get to kill the best and stupidest of the trophy herd, and they are blaming the wolf for this.”

    You and I don’t agree on much, but this statement is perhaps the biggest line of crap that you have ever put out!!!!

    I AM NOT a “trophy hunter” — by your definition or by anyone else’s. When I am hunting elk I take the first one that I get a chance to. (the same way a pack of wolves does –despite what kind of bullshit is put out by the wolf advocates) MOST of the people that I associate and hunt with are the same way.

    You can sit on your butt all day and dream your little self satified dream about you and your ilk saving the wolves from the mean old rednecks that want to kill them, but the fact of the matter is that you don’t have any idea what the hell is REALLY going on!!

    Never mind, you are so centered on what you think is the ONLY valid viewpoint that there is no way logic, common sense, or science that doesn’t come from one of your pet sources would make any difference. Have it your way, no other viewpoint need apply. Don’t worry, be happy!!!

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      Well said Layton. I do not need the meat, it is cheaper to buy it in the store, but I love the HUNT. What would one look foreward to do every year if there no hunting season. I have lived for nearly 50 years without wolves or a remanent population and I do love all wildlife but I want the greatest hunting opportunities that the fish and game departments can create. That is my feelings and the feelings of the majority of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho people.

      The landscape has been so altered in the last 200 years with settlement, transportation, mineral exaction, homesteading and agriculture that the tri state area will never be what it was and nor should it be. That does not mean that we should not protect are last remaining wildlands.

  69. pointswest Avatar

    What happened to the arguments that wolves are important in keeping elk heards healthy? …wolves cull the heard from diseased animals and prevent heards from congregating where they can spread disease to each other?

    I think the low elk numbers are nothing to worry about. They will come back. It is most likely the bad winter (2008/2009) that hit the elk populations so hard. It may be true that the wolf population (I’m speculating) may have been high and so after a winter die-off the preditor/prey ratio may have been high enough to collapse the elk population (again I’m speculating). Now the wolves will die off from starvation and the elk should rebound.

    I think we should expect some instability in the preditor and prey populations this soon after reintroduction. It seems like we are seeing greater extreams in weather too. Last winter was a long winter with snow like the old days. This winter is a drought and we are probably going to see rivers run dry and see Island Park Reservoir drawn down to a mud flat again as in 1977 and silting the Henry’s Fork.

    I’m guessing we will see more wild swings in all large animal populations with wolves and global warming. The times they are a changin.

  70. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I have said the same thing Jim T is saying, the numbers of herd animals (elk in this case) were NOT decimated by predators (wolves in this case) prior to whiteman coming on the scene in this country. The natives knew this and therefore never tried to knock them out.

    My overview:

    Only whiteman with all his farm manager biologists (corporate pig farmers) leading the way relegate “their” management to symptom studies…and therefore findings of supposed cause and effect.

    On the lay side we have a lot of supposed “hunters”, self appointed conservationists, leading the charge against anything even looking like it might take THEIR animal before they get a chance to shoot it. It is like they are kids going through the terrible two’s saying things like, ” Its mine, give it to me”.

    I don’t care if it sounds condescending…it is how I see it. And if the ones reading this are offended then I say their emotion shows the shoe fits.

    The only thing I see happening with this ebb and flow is some biologists now are starting to see themselves as viewed by others…or are having their own self realization …. that being in the camp with the supposed uncouth is not where they want to be. It goes against their academic “elitist” upbringings.

    Thus we are now seeing some in this professional field, ie Mike J., at the anti wolf rally making sure their professionalism is seen as distinct. They still need to associate with the “undesirables” but at the same time be available for media quotes to “set the record straight”. Of course this presence was talked over with all the political players BEFORE it ever happened, I’d say. Gotta keep sights on that job in the future after delisting, you know.

    At least we have Layton who realizes he is two years old. I just wish the biologists understood they are pig farmers.

    Then we have WM who stands by his researched quotes. I gotta hand it to him, he can look this stuff up faster than anyone I know. I don’t think he really cares which “side” he is on (it is the facts that are most important) but as the “biologists” start veering to counter red neck perceived associations he is going to have a harder time on this blog defending his previous “stand” against those who like to quote the “other side”. We’ll see how he handles it…does he stay on this blog and “adjust” to “new information has come to light, man” (by the dude in that cult movie “the Big Lewboski” or ……

    Of course I may be wrong on all this since, “like it is just your opinion, …. man” (same movie, man).

  71. pointwest Avatar

    I am very short on credentials and research experience but I have known some of the best. One thing that has been made clear to me, by the experts, is that whenever talking about the population of a species (even the human species) you must understand that it is NOT a static phenomenon; it is a dynamic phenomenon and can be affected by several factors over decades of time.

    Even if it can be proven that wolves have “decimated” the elk population in 2010, it does not mean that wolves are not good for the heard in 2020 or 2030.

    I have no trouble believing that wolves are killing off elk calves. Wolves were thrown back into a system where the prey animals were overpopulated and not conditioned to deal with natural predators and the wolf population exploded…very unnaturally. Any jolt to a dynamic system is going to cause other jolts, possibly even explosions and collapses.

    One other thing that has been made clear to me is that fear of natural predators is not always instinctual. For example, introducing whooping crane chicks hatched in captivity at Grey’s Lake was a disaster. After the whooping cranes matured, they had almost no fear of predators and were easy pickings for hawks. They also had a problem of flying into fences and being killed. Some things are instinctual, some things are learned, and I suspect that most survival behaviors are a combination of instinct and learning.

    The same has to be true with elk. While elk certainly fear wolves instinctually, some survival behaviors, or parts thereof, that were learned have been lost and need to be relearned. It will take awhile. First the adults have to relearn these behaviors (and some older ones will not) and these learned behaviors need to be passed onto the following generation mostly by the mother or dominant cows. It is not going to happen in just a few years. It might take a few decades.

    So that is a point I think should not be missed. Population of species is a dynamic phenomenon and we WILL NOT prove anything about what the wolves do or don’t do for a few decades.

    If you hate wolves, you should be glad the elk population is collapsing because then the wolves will all starve to death.

    Just one more point, I am a hunter and have killed many elk and I will share a trick I know. If you are surprised by an elk and do not have time to conceal yourself, the best thing to do is freeze in an upright position with your arms down. I have had elk walk right up to me while standing upright at which time I drew up my gun and shot them dead. The reason, I’m told, is that elk’s natural predators are low to the ground, like a wolf, and elk naturally have a greater fear of something low to the ground. So standing upright tends to scare elk less. This is the same reason tree stands work. Elk and deer have no natural instinct to fear something overhead. Hunters, by being bipedal, have a much easier time in killing elk because elk have no natural fear of bipedal predators. However, this trick does not always work. Some elk, have learned to fear a bipedal hunter. Outfitters do well in taking hunters to the back country because elk have not learned to fear bipedal hunters there…it is not necessarily because there are more elk in the backcountry as some of the best elk habitat is in the milder country not far from roads.

    1. Cobra Avatar

      You’re elk are a hell of a lot more tame than my elk and I’ve also taken many many elk. Years ago this worked but anymore elk are gone at the sight of you regardless of if your 20 yards or 200 yards, times they are a changing.

    2. pointswest Avatar

      That proves my point. Some survival behavior is instinctual while other is learned.

      But I’m sure it still works sometimes. You cannot crouch or make any tense movement…you must stand straight and relaxed as if you were just a fancy colored tree stump. You should try not be be seen at all, but it you get surprised, it is you best bet at not spooking the elk. Couching, even a little, sends them running.

    3. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson

      Let me tell you when the elk really “freeze”. It is when they actually do…or at least are so cold and so desperately in need of thermal they don’t move…literally.

      And it all happens in a very sick hunt…the late season Gallatin hunt that used to go on year after year, winter after winter, north of the Park.

      In the late seventies we had one time period where it got 50 below or colder 7 out of 12 days. One night it was 62 below. I would ski the boundary to keep hunters respectful and always wanting to bow to mecca (yellowstone). But when its 40-50 below you forget the skiis and put on those snowshoes.

      “Hunters” didn’t know how to hunt in these very cold conditions (or keep from getting frostbitten…or keep their horses legs from locking up…and dieing) and worse yet didn’t have any empathy for the elk having to try and get away from these androids. Neither did the state biologists. More androids.

      Every day of this cold period hunting stories would come out of the woods…hunters who pulled the trigger and nothing happening.

      One guy came by dragging bambi. he then proceeds to tell me he came on this elk unexpectedly and this little elk wouldn’t move (I wonder why?). So he melts the frost from his eyelashes and levels the gun on this elk 20 yards away. Nothing happens of course so he takes it off his shoulder, looks down at it…and it goes off…and then jumps out of his hands and into the snow.

      Being savvy he figures it out…cold plus cold means the firing pin is not going forward. No whale blubber to oil this gun, just the synthetic stuff. So he looks up and bambi is still there. This time he takes his shot and holds in place a long time. But it is so long he couldn’t hold steady and he misses.

      But little big eyes bambi is STILL there. So our insensitive sort of man creeps over to a tree and rests the gun in a fork. Pulls the trigger and waits and waits for death to follow. And of course it happened and this man was going home with some very tender eating. I asked him if there were others. Yes, he says, but they were in the woods and not a good shot. He said the rest ran when he went over to retrieve his kill.

      I suppose to another hunter who might be lucky enough to have a tree near by. I always wondered if the state biolgists running this show were elated upon hearing these stories. Did they like the idea probably many more died without ever being shot…but moved around so much they didn’t have the strength to fight off that bone chilling cold?

  72. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I have a WSM,

    It is a nice rifle, but I stick to my old standby most of the time and that is the time tested and true .270, been carrying that gun since I was 12 years old, I used to use my 30-30, but I gave that to my grandson for Christmas this year..

    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears

      I will add, although I own guns and have used them for hunting, most of my hunting now a days is with a bow, which means you have to get off the road…and I didn’t hunt this last year, still had quite a bit of venison and elk in the freezer from the last hunting season..

  73. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I have another “fond” gun story. Only the ending was not so happy for the one that adored his gun.

    Once upon a time not so long ago I caught a guy working as a guide for the outfitter up country. He was a fire chief in a large city but took his month off guiding so he could hunt all the time with conveniences(most outfitters in Thorofare didn’t use to let guides hunt until the end of the last hunt of the season but with independent contractors becoming the norm all these higher ideals went out the window).

    He wanted his son …some thirty years old and also a fire fighter in Daddies town…to learn to hunt , real hunting, …. just like daddy.

    Now this guy, I found out later, had a very fine Sako that he loved very much. He had hunted all over the world with this gun…the last being a successful Blue Ram hunt in Russia (?).

    The only thing was he wanted a good elk rack with this gun and he wanted to show the son how to kill in the week he was there. So it was father and son hiking to the top of the Trident after they could go no further with horses. It must have been very heart warming to the father, showing the son what he deeply enjoyed for all these years. In fact it had to me momentous because everything was “right” for the sons first big game hunt. It must have been touching, that walk to the top, with the son waiting for a dad to catch a breather, a man close to retiring, on this picture perfect elk hunt at 10,000 feet.

    They stayed most all day behind a big rock on the top of the largest alpine tundra of Yellowstone. The wind was over 60 miles per hour and it stayed that way. One could see for miles, much of it out of the Park but there would be no elk on this windswept plain to kill. The only elk in this area … and I mean any day, wind or not….would be…in the bowls of Escarpment Creek.

    But, of course, this just happens to be in the Park and the only way to get there, or so they thought, was from camp east of Yellowstone or hiking a long ways up Escarpment Ck. proper from the Yellowstone Valley miles away. The old man thought he had it covered. He could glass the upper open areas of Escarpment for any possible rangers (but with no trail and no sign or word of any ranger coming this way…in fact the last time anybody rode this drainage was 20 years previous when the outfitter, a guide and 4 hunters got caught in a blizzard on top and had to go down Escarpment. They lost all their racks and meat…and a rifle besides having to bivouc out).

    But one can also access the top if one goes up the drainage to the N. (Cliff Ck.) if one is willing to go though some tough down timber areas low, then up some very steep country …. and therefore not be visible to anyone glassing and poaching elk or sheep in Escarpment. And by the way one has to have a burning desire to go after treasure…in this case a poacher carrying the likes of a Sako.

    Thus, it was father and son spotting a good bull down in Escarpment. The son stayed put and father scrambled through rocks and snow fields…always staying out of view of the elk. The son, for his part, directed dad with arm signals. And wouldn’t you know it but dad went right by a Park boundary sign (son saw it with his glasses also, in fact they both saw it before dad ever went down after those elk in the Park. Dad kept going a half mile and finally bagged his illusive trophy.

    Father and son were so happy. The son ran down the best he could and father showed son how to cape . But they had to work fast because if they tarried too long they couldn’t get past those stream crevasses on this supposed secret trail only the outfitter and guides knew.

    There had never been a game warden on this “secret” trail so a lot of sheep came out of this Trident country way off permit area. But that is another story. Back to our fire chief and his beloved Sako.

    I and another ranger, as it happened, were staked out the next bowl over. Mostly looking for sheep poachers to the north. I had a nice 10X 12 wall tent set up. I had packed it and cots and sheep herder stove …and a barrel to stash it in….years ago and the poachers never knew I was all cozzied up for those ten day stints .

    It was a productive “fort” for me through those years but I never once told Cody game wardens where or how I got those results in that ten mile range. You see, they would have squealled right away over that piece of cherry pie in that outfitters cook tent.

    So the father and son went scott free that night with the cap and skull plate because I never heard that shot in a very howling N. wind day.

    But a father such as this man had principles..at least to his son. You just couldn’t let your son know all you wanted was the cape and rack. F..ck the meat that far back!! So the father, that mighty, for the people public servant, let the son rest up that next morning and headed out with a salt of the earth honest to tooting drug store guide (AKA horn poacher I already caught) who, by the way knew how to pack out in such risky country for horses.

    They were in our line of sight a mile away as they passed the ridge on an equally windy day.

    Two guys in civvies with two lever action 45-70’s. Yes, they saw us before we saw them, but alas they thought we were just two other poachers (honest to god, this is the truth). So on they went to retrieve the meat ….. for appearances.

    Their fatal mistake. It was all down hill from there literally and figuratively. After contact it was one story after another but in about three hours the firechief broke. Really broke. With head down and tears streaming he had to look quite the sight to his horn hunting comrade in arms. Then it was on to the carcass (I could have tracked right to it but it was most important to have them break first) and a photo shoot before dark where the guy would not face the camera with that gutted, minus skull plate bull elk carcass. Wonder why? Different angles and the guy just kept turning sideways to the camera.

    Then it was each our ways….fast, because there were cliffs we could not see in the dark. And then the next day we went to this “honest” outfitters camp where the snow was blowing and that fine father and son were huddled around a spark studded fire 30 yards from the camp. The son was as distraught as a 12 year old who just lost his father and the father kept looking over at him as we talked….the four of us around a boys scout campfire.

    The son wrote his confession with frozen tears streaming down and then the father started crying again …. kinda softly with that hopeless, anguished soul look. Then I asked him for his rifle, this well rubbed and oiled beauty of a rifle…and fine scope. then he really started crying. After I got the rifle in my hands I asked him for one more thing, the rest of the ammo for that gun. I’d say this is when he realized he would never see this best buddy…the rifle that accompanied him around the world …. cause this is when he really started bawling. Then it was both father and son bawling and blubbering with the wind whipping the snow, the fire and ashes swirling all around the both of them. We left without saying more.

    The judge cited for $3,000 but I bet this rugged man would have forfeited ten thousand if only he could have kept that rifle. But the judge told him that feared , “no” and said it was to go to Lake District and its Thorofare ranger station for this cabins use.

    Yes, favorite rifles sometimes have quite the story to them. Such fond memories, too. But questions always linger. Did that son ever go hunting again? I doubt it. And father, did he always hang his head just a bit around this son? Or did both just pretend it never happened?

    And finally, did my rangering on these two keep the poaching down from this camp in the future? Past my time? I doubt it. But at least there is an old, old story.

    1. Devin Avatar

      You seriously need to write a book already! You’ve got way too many good stories to just keep teasing use with one or two at a time.

    2. Devin Avatar

      You seriously need to write a book already! You can’t keep teasing us with just one or two stories at a time!


    3. Devin Avatar

      Ah the internetz. It looked like my connection bugged out the first time and it didn’t post….sorry for the repeated posts!

    4. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      So, to continue the story, where is that Sako now? Still at the Thorogare cabin or did it go the way of a box of TP from an earlier story?

  74. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    All I can say, is glad you caught them..

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Any chance that .270 was model 70 Win.? I have one that belonged to my mother. She got it in the early 1950’s, and shot everything from blacktail and mule deer to elk, and even a couple of moose in British Columia? Still a great gun. Also had one in .30-06 that was my father’s, with a 2.5 power Lyman Alaskan.


      Bob Jackson,

      I seem to remember from an earlier post of yours that you were the only ranger with exclusive special NP authorization to carry the 45-70 lever action, while standard issue was bolt Model 70, in ’06. Your story above talks about two rangers with those bear guns. Did your buddy have the authorization too?

  75. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I actually have two .270’s one is a Model 70 and the other is an Interarms.

  76. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    Good memory. Yes I was told I was the only one authorized to carry a 45-70 in NPS. My district ranger even applied after me and Wash. said no. It is good they did so with this zero (the best he could ever do was shoot a problem griz at 75 yds in the foot with a heavy barreled and scoped 30-06 …and a sand bag on the hood of a car for a rest).

    The guy with me was a “ranger” in the sense he was in Yellowstone for stake outs only. But his authorization was as a deputized US Marshall. In his real life the guy was a venture capitalist in Chicago. He would fly out every year just to do a ten day stake out with me. We had some very fine cases together.

    As for the Sako I imagine it is at the Lake R.S. When it was at Thorofare I would take it out of the Park to practise shoot
    a bit to check out the scope sighting at the first of each season. The intended use was for anything long distance (I think it was a 300 mag.) resource protection or bad guy.

    But in the end it didn’t have as much practicality in a place like Thorofare. We already had an iron sighted pre 70 winchester 30-06. Thus I ended up packing this gun to my district headquarters after a couple years … and left it in their arms room. I doubt anyone there even knew the quality of this firearm because whenever I checked it had more new dings on it. I think it gets used a bit for rifle qualifications, but I doubt it ever even gets zeroed in before qualifications commences.

    And that is it for this fine gun. It is best remembered by me as it was laying on the ground …..with that camoflauged guy circling away from each photo.

  77. jon Avatar

    Older article, but still good.

    Killing the Lions to Save the Deer–To Kill the Deer


    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      I’m so glad somebody else sees the irony in that.

  78. jon Avatar

    Montana rancher calls for helicopter hunting of wolves.


    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      So much for facts about wolves. You would think this guy should know better. Bachelors Degree in microbiology, with a medical internship at Duke University, and he works as a clinical scientist for a hospital. But he is a Republican running for Congress in an agricultural / hunter heavy district.

      I guess you say anything to get the headlines.. He’s a breeder, too – five kids.

    2. JB Avatar

      This is what awaits delisted wolves. State agencies can not manage wolves because the morons that run their governments won’t let them.

  79. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E


    I don’t follow this all that closely but it seems that there was an surge in the number in just the last couple weeks. anyone else notice that?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Thanks Jeff E,

      Yes the hunt kind of just petered out as the more vulnerable wolves were killed and wolves probably learned to be more wary.

      Very interesting to me is the poor wolf hunting success in the Lolo where only half of the quota was filled (13 out of 27). Idaho Fish and Game will say it’s because the country is too rough, but I have to doubt whether the quota numbers even existed on the ground.

      If you look at the 2009 Idaho wolf report, the hard count of wolves in the area (21) is less than the hunt quota, with the rest of wolf packs just names with ghostly boundaries.

      With elk population low, why would a thinking person believe the area was bursting with wolves? Do wolves go on a diet for a decade while a low elk population rebuilds, assuming conditions are right for rebuilding?

      I suggest the wolves would die out, leave the area, or perhaps never grown to the levels claimed.

      A lot of people have a political stake in the Lolo being full of wolves. This could affect what they say, do, and believe.

    2. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      My thoughts too Ralph. the areas that wolves are claimed to have the most negative effect on prey, ostensibly because of their population, are the areas that will not meet the “quota” .

    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Ralph & Jeff E,

      I also saw the 2009 results for the Lolo and thought the numbers were low. In my opinion the more important data is in the 2008 report which shows 70 wolves as the MINIMUM total with an additional 29 pups, and a total of 13 or so documented/suspected/MT border packs. This did not include those packs/suspected packs whose range overlaps into the Lolo, but which have their nucleus in an adjacent management zone and whose totals are counted in those zones (there are maybe 4 of those).

      You may be right, if what the IFGF asserts is true, the wolves thought to been in the Lolo have eaten whatever elk are easy to get there and moved on, possibly into the Dworshak-Elk City to the west (which had its harvest quota filled very quickly), Selway to the south, Panhandle to the north or into MT to the east.

      If I understand correctly the ID harvest quotas for the management zones for the 2009 season, would have been based on the 2008 wolf estimates and distributions. Would that not be correct, since the 2009 estimates would have been done in December 2009 for what is called the 2009 report we are now reviewing?

      As I have mentioned before, it is like having to play catch up all the time. In this instance, as you point out, the Lolo quota may have been too large and adjacent units too low – the Dworshak-Elk City may have alot of those former Lolo residents, and now impacting the elk populations there.

    4. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Source: Wolf Conservation and Management in Idaho Progress Report 2008, pps. 40-42.


  80. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wilderness Muse,

    I think you likely correct.

    Having failed to meet the quota of 27 in the Lolo Zone, if they set it at 60 next year, it will show . . . ah, poor quality thought.

    I imagine they will increase the Dworshak-Elk City quota. Of course, they will increase all the quotas, but I mean more than proportionately.

  81. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Mark French, congressional challenger, calling for immediate reduction of wolves in Montana.


    1. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Thanks Barb

  82. Ed Darrell Avatar


    Any thoughts on reports Sarah Palin will do an Alaskan wildlife program?

    I’m not certain it’s accurate, but the reports are bubbling up.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Ed Darrell,

      It is true. Discovery Communications has announced a new Alaska nature show starring Sarah Palin. This company owns the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Defenders of Wildlife has put up a website where folks can complain to David Zaslav President & CEO, Discovery Communications. See http://action.defenders.org/eyeonpalin

    2. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Should be a good fit – Palin is experienced in Alaskan wildlife/outdoors in both the personal aspect and thru government. She is popular and a good role model especially for young women interested in the outdoors. Thanks for the heads up.

    3. jon Avatar

      Talk with bears, hardly. Sarah Palin is a disgrace to humanity in my opinion.

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The important thing to understand about Sarah Palin is that she is all about the politics of culture.

      For a certain subculture is a good fit for their anger and resentments.

      For another subculture she represents in one package just about everything this is wrong with part of American society.

      If I let this thread go, it will get very heated. This can be no rational discussion on this.

      Anyway, if you want to protest her show on Discovery, you have the information.


  83. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Talks with Bears,

    I suppose folks might well have a few disagreements with you on this. 😉

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      I prefer to think of it as Palin finally finding a niche discipline in which she can has an opportunity(?) to show competency, and is consistent with her TV broadcasting background. The key is whether her folksy AK ways and attitudes toward wildlife will ring with US viewers watching Discovery. Maybe she will end up a bookend to one of those horn porn hunting shows on cable TV. Nonetheless, Tina Fey will have great material to work with.

  84. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    I know there was a lot of hub bub about this when Bush was in Office, seems like Obama is following:



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Ralph Maughan