Have you seen any interesting wildife news? April 10

Note that this replaces the 5th 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. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    I recently read a paper regarding the wolf in Japanese culture entitled ” On the Extinction of the Japanese Wolf. I thought it was interesting, and, consequently, I will provide a link:

  2. Nancy Avatar


    It is against this background that in recent years there have been calls
    for the reintroduction of wolves to Japan (MARUYAM1A99 5; MARUYAMA,
    WADA, and KANZAIU 1995; see KNIGHT n.d. for discussion). Premised on
    wolf extinction, the idea has of course been rejected by those who believe
    that wolves still exist in the remote interior. But the rationale is that, as a keystone
    species, the wolf would help restore order to the Japanese forest ecology
    by regulating the numbers of herbivores so destructive to forestry.
    Proponents argue that wolf reintroduction would simultaneously restore
    nature, reinstate human control, and make the Japanese mountains manageable
    once more. It is as though man has learnt that the yama, even in
    their nominally domesticated state today, can only be really managed with
    the assistance of the wild power of nature itself: The recovery of human control
    requires the return of the yama no banken, the “guard dog of the mountains.”
    The wolf is a symbol both of the wild yama and of its control. Perhaps
    this is why a formally nonexistent animal continues to preoccupy upland
    dwellers. If the wolf is extinct, it is not obsolete.

  3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    That is very interesting. I would be surprised if there was much room for wolves in Japan nowadays though. Would the subspecies in Russia be most like the Japanese subspecies?

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      ProWolf in Wy

      What does Japan have more of than Montana? People is right, but what else? GRIZZLY BEARS or brown bears.

    2. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

      Seems there had been two different Japanese wolf species. First, the Honshu wolf (Canis lupus hodophilax) reportedly the smallest wolf species of all. A few stuffed examples remain in different museums and the last free example was obviously a victim of rabies in about 1905. Second, the Honshu Wolf (Canis lupus hattai) a wolf of „normal size“, the last ones poisoned in about 1889. (Source Wikipedia, but supported by several other wolf publications)

  4. Nancy Avatar

    ProWolf – Thought I read somewhere in the article that China has wolves that might have been related to the wolf that went extinct in Japan.

  5. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I suppose that would make sense. Do you know how the Japanese wolves compared in size to other wolves in Russia, China, or Korea.

  6. Nancy Avatar

    ProWolf – Most of the research seems to indicate that Japan’s wolves were probably a smaller subspecies of wolves from Russia & China.

    Elk275 – brown bears & black bears in Japan. It would appear that brown bears were at one time, common over most of the globe.


  7. David Avatar

    Here’s an article about Sierra Nevada Fishers caught in (I think) the same bureaucratic whole that the Sage Grouse was just sent down. They’ve been listed as a “candidate” for endangered species status for years.


    1. Chris Harbin Avatar
      Chris Harbin

      It’s nice to have some favorable news. I’ve seen condors at the Grand Canyon – there were 3 right below the rim behind Bright Angel Lodge. It’s a shame that they have NASCR numbers on them – at least it’s not advertising yet.
      I hope we never get to the point where Viagra sponsors the California Condor reintroduction!

  8. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E


    Clearly this is an example of a non-native, probably Canadian, species. Get rid of them.

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      My cousin use to date him and now he is married to my one of my college room mates sisters. I like him.

    2. WM Avatar

      While Judge Thomas may have roots in the West and understand its problems, he sits on the most overturned appellate court in the nation, hardly has the worldly experience of some of the other strong contenders, and likely little experience in many of the broad issues that seem to consume the SC’s time these days. My guess is the Administration may be trolling for another woman, but just having appointed Sodomeyer, Obama may hold off, since he may very well have an opportunity to make another appointment before his term is up.

  9. WM Avatar

    Looks like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is going toe to toe with Defenders of Wildlife and other pro-wolf groups. RMEF has alleged DOW has misrepresented RMEF data and statements regarding alleged elk populations and wolf impacts. Read the RMEF news release and recent correspondence between the organizations (links are noted in the text):


    Bottom line is that RMEF is standing ground on its assertion that wolves (and bears) are locally impacting elk populations in rather dramatic ways. The problem with all of this is that elk population data lags by as much as two years, and wolf populations lag by as much as a year and is purposefully conservative according to the FWS experts.

    1. JB Avatar

      Wow, I just lost a whole bunch of respect for the RMEF. Nice to see that they’ve decided to show their true colors by including many of the “wonderful” wolf myths we bear witness to so often on this blog.

      “…CEO David Allen, who says Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others are party to what may become “one of the worst wildlife management disasters since the destruction of bison herds in the 19th Century.”

      –Nothing like a little hyperbole to kick things off in the right direction! Also ironic given that wolf eradication efforts in the West coincided with the elimination of bison and other game in the late 1800s.

      “Allen said, “These animal rights groups seem to think that every individual wolf is worth filing another lawsuit to protect, but the decimation of local elk herds is unimportant. What is truly ironic is these folks claim protection of the Canadian gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. However these wolves are not endangered. There are thousands of them throughout North America. The ESA is being manipulated far beyond its intended purpose.””

      –Where to start!? First, Defenders and WWC are NOT animal rights groups. That’s akin to labeling the RMEF a gun rights group. Big difference between people who want to see wildlife populations protected and those who think that animals should have “rights”. Defenders is not HSUS, not even close.

      Secondly, we see the word “decimation” resurface. What a wonderful choice of words! How many elk management units are below objective? And how many are at or above objective? Oh, but they’re only “locally” decimating wolves. Oh sorry, in that case, bring in the tanks! We better git ourselves some wolf control quick!

      Thirdly, we see the label “Canadian” gray wolf resurface. I wonder if RMEF CEO Allen should be citing Ron Gilllette here? Oh well, I suppose I should be happy that he isn’t claiming that these Canadian monsters weigh 250lbs!

      Finally, we get the claim that wolves aren’t endangered as defined by the ESA because there are healthy populations of wolves in Canada. This too is a gross misstatement of fact, as anyone that knows anything about ESA can tell you. The ESA was passed, in part, because prior legislation did not provide a mechanism for protecting imperiled populations of species that were otherwise secure. In short, the ESA was passed exactly for this type of purpose.

    2. Elk275 Avatar

      I just looked at the new 2010 elk hunting regulations for Southwest Montana and there are new restrictions and a reduction of cow elk permits from last year. In the Snowcrest and Gravely Mountains there have eliminated the 1000 second cow elk tag and cows can only be hunted during the first week instead of the entire season.

      The elk numbers objective is divern by the ranchers who if they owned the wildlife on there property and sold the tags for top dollar there would no over the objective.

      It could be a natural downward trend which I have seen several times before with mule deer and antelope or it could be the reintroduction of wolves. This is not sitting well with the local people.

    3. SAP Avatar

      Cat Urbigkit has links to the letters over at her site:


    4. WM Avatar


      RMEF has stood mostly silent, for sometime, on the wolf issue. As I understand it there was a long-considered concern about creating a rift within the membership ranks that could affect its base. As more information about wolf repopulation has been presented, they have reluctantly been drawn in – mostly, I think, by DOW’s own doing. They have had a pretty mild formal wolf management policy up until now.

      I sense gathering frustration with DOW, with its own distorted advertising campaign, comments from Suzanne Stone and other representatives, the ads that NRDC ran in some major papers going after Cabelas (an RMEF advertizer) on the perceived advocacy and financial support of predator derbies, and, of course, the elephant in the room – the MT delisting litigation. I am not familiar with the Western Wildlife Conservancy based in Salt Lake, but their mission statement paints them as an animal rights group.

      RMEF also has a series of membershp banquets around the country in February, so Allen probably heard alot from members who have had bad hunting experiences in wolf country. He probably also hears alot from locals since the RMEF office is in Missoula.

      It would be interesting to know whether its Board of Directors weighed in before David Allen wrote his letter.

      I personally believe RMEF loses credibility when it gets in the gutter to grovel with DOW and other certain advocacy groups (my favorite is HSUS), and engages at the same level with slant statistics and little twists of facts. This is probably also a way of saying to RMEF membership, “see we are doing something,” after years of being just an observer.

      This is new territory and a new tactic for RMEF; they have tried to stay out of sensitive issues. They didn’t start the skirmish, but I bet they adapt pretty quickly. I think they are rightfully pissed off – its not about the facts any more……. unfortunately.

    5. JB Avatar


      There is a legitimate policy issue here. The way I see it:

      (1) Wolves will affect elk populations. The smaller the spatial scale of your measurement (i.e. the back 40 vs. Montana), the more likely wolves are to have an impact.

      (2) The policy question is: To what extent should wolf populations be purposefully manipulated to provide a surplus of elk for hunters EVERYWHERE?

      Note: The fundamental problem with this question is that wolf and elk populations are dynamic and “hunters” (I’m using that term loosely) want predictable surpluses of elk EVERYWHERE (somebody is going to bitch if the population decreases in any area). Consequently, whenever the elk population drops in ANY management unit, some “hunters” will claim that it is all the fault of predators.

      My response: Elk populations in Idaho were near an ALL TIME high when wolves were reintroduced. Today, they are still at or above management objectives in the majority of units. So, I apologize if I am “glossing over” obvious trends. Frankly, I think the “hunters” that continually complain are just as–if not more–guilty of “glossing over” the overall trend: that is ELK ARE DOING JUST FINE.

    6. Cobra Avatar

      It could be that F&G are saying elk numbers are fine to get the word out there for non-resident hunters to maybe sell more tags. I know they took a hit the last couple years from lack of non-resident hunters. Luckily we had a mild winter in North Idaho and our herds seems to be doing well. The two winters we had before last were pretty hard on the elk, moose and deer, and the deep snow made it pretty easy for the wolves. The wolves had to earn it this past winter. Our yearling crop seems to be a bit down and that could be for a number of reasons but the kills I found this winter were mostly yearlings. I can’t say what’s going on in the rest of the state as far as elk populations but up here they may be down some and we have lost some of our seasons or I should say length of seasons, but, overall they seem to be holding their own. I kind of have a hard time with anything IDFG says as far as populations goes.

  10. JB Avatar

    Here is the gist of letter sent by Defenders and WWC that apparently set Allen off:

    “We recognize that public hunting may eventually be a regular component of state wolf management. However, until plans ensuring regional wolf sustainability are in place public hunts could force populations down before they are secure.

    Our position is not one of opposition to sustainable hunting practices or to the important role that hunting plays in conservation. Responsible hunters are some of the most knowledgeable wildlife conservationists and we seek and find common ground with them regularly. It is unfortunate we have not been able to do so with RMEF recently but would like to work together in the future.

    Through your publicity campaign against us, RMEF appears to be trying to benefit from increasing the conflict over wolves, even as you accuse us of the same. Our proposed solution, however, is not more conflict but more collaboration.”

    –And Allen’s response:

    “We will collaborate with those who believe in sound wildlife management, not promoting one species over others for what we believe are hidden agendas.”

    –Says the CEO of the Rocky Mountain ELK foundation.

  11. JB Avatar

    I apparently missed this one (sorry if it is old news): http://www.idahoreporter.com/2010/fish-and-game-director-links-elk-and-wolf-populations/

    “Groen said that in part because of the lowering elk population, fish and game commissioners are looking to expand the state’s licensed wolf hunt. “More aggressive wolf management is needed to restore the (elk) herd. State wildlife managers will recommend significant changes to wolf seasons in the Lolo and other elk-depressed zones …”

    Looks like Ralph was right. The only possible explanation for declining elk in the Lolo is wolves–wolves that apparently no hunters could find. IDF&G’s response: raise the wolf quota. Great thinking fellas!

    1. WM Avatar


      I think Ralph was partially right about the wolves in the Lolo. But, more importantly they (in conjunction with an expanding bear populations) cleaned out the elk in the Lolo and have moved on to adjacent game managment units. It is the time lag factor in published data that I keep pointing out. This is not unlike the 200+ wolves that decreased the YNP elk by nearly 50%, and migrated out, leaving less than 100 wolves within the Park boundaries at last formal count. What amazes me, over and over again, is that informed and educated commenters like yourself seem to like to purposefully gloss over, or rationalize, these obvious trends.

    2. JB Avatar


      And what amazes me is that well informed and educated commentors like you gloss over the fact that wolves were reintroduced into YNP to do exactly that–reduce an out-of-control elk herd! Historical accounts suggest the carrying capacity for the Northern Yellowstone elk herd is between 5 and 6 thousand animals. Wolves were reintroduced when the herd reached ~19,000, between three and four times their carrying capacity and at an all-time high. Now, the herd is back to a healthy 6,000 and wolf numbers are down with them–all without a wolf hunting season in the park (though hunters did kill some YNP wolves outside the park in MT this past year).

      I’m trying to figure out what trends I’m “glossing over” here? Wolf populations are stabilizing in the NRMs, and Idaho’s “elk herd”–the one to which Groen refers–is doing fine. The only trend I see that is cause for any alarm is the increase in complaining.

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      wolves did NOT reduce the population by 50%.

    4. WM Avatar

      Jeff E,

      I will see if I can locate an authoritative source, on the reduction of the YNP elk population. I have seen the “nearly 50 reduction” language in a couple of reputable source writings. I have also seen references to the assertion that wolves have reduced the coyote population in YNP by nearly 50 % as well.

      Also, the official number of wolves in YNP stands at below 100 after the December count, down from roughly 200 a couple of years earlier. A commensurate decrease in wolves in YNP would seem logical if its prey source is reduced. Of course, there are other factors affecting numbers in YNP including natural mortality of adults, pups that died from disease, and fringe pack harvest from the MT hunting season.

  12. JB Avatar

    To follow up, there will ALWAYS be some populations in decline and others on the rise, because ecosystems are dynamic. Wolves, in combination with other factors, probably exacerbate these localized effects on elk, though scientists are still trying to quantify how all of these factors work together. Yet hunters seem to want harvestable surpluses of elk everywhere, and now that wolves are on the scene they have a convenient scapegoat (besides the IDF&G).

  13. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I guess those Canadian Orcas might not be so bad after all

  14. Cris Waller Avatar

    Not that I give a lot of credence to British reality TV shows, but does anyone know anything about this?

    “Survival expert Ray Mears wept after a female wolf he was tracking was found dead.

    The TV star had followed an endangered pack in Idaho for a week and was close to finding their den and new cubs.

    But after watching them rip a dead elk to pieces, Mears discovered the mother’s corpse next day.

    It is believed locals poisoned the elk carcass to kill off the pack.”


  15. Virginia Avatar

    New subject: “Privatization of Wildlife. How Ted Turner Scored Yellowstone Bison”. Written by Joshua Frank for Counterpunch (www.counterpunch.org/frank04132010.html)

    The real story of what is happening to our Yellowstone bison!

  16. RLMiller Avatar

    F&WS refuses to list Wyoming pocket gopher, which made the mistake of inhabiting energy-rich plateaus

  17. Virginia Avatar

    Sorry, Ken, I do remember that now.

  18. NW Avatar

    NPS closes some National Preserve areas to sport hunting of wolves, others to the use of artificial lights to kill bears in dens.


    1. JB Avatar

      Groen says: “That balance is completely out of whack.”

      The idea of “balance” is an ecological myth; it is disconcerting to see F&G agencies perpetuate this myth. Again, ecosystems are dynamic. To imply that populations are “out of whack” when they are changing suggests that there exists some ideal equilibrium between predator and prey. This simply is not true. Populations fluctuate and that fluctuation is natural. The real reason IDF&G wants to manipulate wolves is so that they can maximize elk hunting opportunities in these zones. At least Mark Gamblin had the courage to say this.

  19. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    I wish they eliminate the term “harvesting” of animals. and call it what it is – killing.

    1. jon Avatar

      I couldn’t agree more Chris!

    2. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      Didn’t we just have that discussion a couple of days ago?

    3. JB Avatar
  20. Si'vet Avatar

    I wish they would eliminate the term “culling” the weak and sick. And just tell it like it is. Wolves kill any prey available that makes a wrong turn at the wrong time. But then again it’s the land of the free.

    1. WM Avatar


      Awhile back I read Dr. Dale Lott’s (wildlife behavioral ecologist at U of Cal., Davis, now deceased), buffalo book – “American Bison.” He observed buffalo calves being eaten regularly by wolves in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada during the summer months. In a crptic but opinionated paragraph he surmised that he really did not understand the “survival of the fittest” concept when the only selecting factor for these healthy calves was that they happened to be “at the wrong place at the wrong time,” and within grasping distance of the wolves. They were just unlucky not to have an adult close enough to them when the wolves cruised through.

      No doubt, this is exactly what happens to elk calves in very high numbers in high density wolf country during summer. There is no “culling” of the weak or the injured. It is just bad luck for the calf, and ultimately bad luck for the herd and eventually hunters, as it really screws up the herd demographics. I have seen very few spike bulls in the area of ID that I hunt in the last three years. That also means there are fewer young bearing cows in the mix as well.

    2. Jay Avatar

      So WM, does a book published back in 2002 fall into that “time lag” in published literature you were pointing out a few posts above? Also, was that book peer reviewed? Seems you were critical of folks citing gray literature.

    3. WM Avatar


      You might be interested to know Dr. Lott grew up around buffalo on the National Bison Range in Western MT, from the age of 10 until he went off to college, where his grandfather was the Superintendent and his father an employee of the Range. Lott is well recognized animal behavioral ecologist. And, yes, this book was peer reviewed, and went through several drafts, according to the Preface. Another good source is the Buffalo Field Campaign website accessible from the right margin of this blog. I think the section is called Resources or something like that. I balance stuff like this against things I learn from Bob Jackson who raises buffalo.

      Safisfied, Jay, or do you need more? Impudence is a word that comes to mind when I read your comments. Too bad you are not on your own search for knowledge in a way that it can be intelligently shared with others.

    4. Jay Avatar

      Hypocrite is the word that comes to mind anytime you type something here. You take it to a new level. Just curious, do you even know the difference between gray and peer-reviewed literature? Again, Hamlin, and now apparently K. Proffitt, Grigg, Bob Garrott, et al., are inferior scientists, but Dr. Lott is an expert on wolf predation of bison because he grew up on a captive bison range before wolves were even present in Montana. You are so biased, you are blind to the fact that those who say what you want to hear are geniuses, and everyone else are hacks.

      Apparently, what is too bad is I am not on a witch hunt to cherry pick any article (or even a few sentences in an article that otherwise contradicts your views) that demonizes wolves and ignore everything else that contradicts your biased opinion that wolves are the cause of every problem on the planet. However, you’re not even all that good at demonizing wolves…why don’t you really get serious about it? I’ll get you started: wolves cause cancer; wolves started the great Chicago fire–yeah, a cow kicked over the lamp, but it was scared of the wolves just outside the barn; wolves took TARP money from Obama; Hitler was a wolf lover.

      That should spur your imagination.

    5. WM Avatar


      ++Again, Hamlin, and now apparently K. Proffitt, Grigg, Bob Garrott, et al., are inferior scientists, but Dr. Lott is an expert on wolf predation++

      Where did you come up with this crap? You certainly are entitled to your opinions, such as they, but your conclusions are patently incorrect, regarding the above statement. I clearly did not state or imply what you wrote. You certainly are capable of gross contortion of written words. I cited the Proffitt article abstract exactly as it was written, because I did not have access to the study paper, and abstracts usually go straight to the heart of the issue being presented, and some of the major conclusion reached (although some abstracts are just teasers).

      However, what you say does speak volumes about your maturity (as well as your challenged reading, analytical skills and ability to carry on a conversation involving differing viewpoints). I grant you one thing; you are consistent.

      As to the content of the Proffitt et al. study, see JB’s comments below (thanks JB). Proffitt is a name you will be seeing alot in MT GFP publications dealing with ungulate – wolf interactions as the conversation continues. By the way, Jason Gude (also a co-author) of that study is the Wildlife Research Services Bureau Chief. I respect the work they and other scientists do on this difficult and intellectually challenging topic.

  21. Si'vet Avatar

    WM, you nailed it, wrong place wrong time, in most cases. Culling is a word used to sanitze the situation, in a sense show respect to individuals (example a class of young students) who may be a bit sensitive to: the wolves swarmed, dragged the cow elk down, finished removing the partially born calf, then started shredding and eating both while still alive. It similar to the word harvest, both used out of respect, for the audience.

    1. WM Avatar

      Maybe I fall in the minority, but I prefer the use of these terms, in the context of “managed” game species (yeah, I know JimT will come unglued when I say this). My point in the comment above, is that “culling” is not really applicable to the population of healthy young animals. A cull in the agricultural context – say apples or cherries – is removing the less desirable from the group. How, exactly, is a young healthy calf undesireable when the very future of local herds depends on this replentishment? Calf recruitment in some management units (and yes we do need to call them that) is in the ten to thirty percent range. To coin another (foolish) term, recruitment levels this low is decimation and it clearly fits the dictionary definition of “decimate.” Oops, I guess I stepped into it by using the term.

    2. JB Avatar

      Sorry to come to this conversation late. I think it is very important to be specific in what we are talking about here. Wolves kill weak animals (sick, old, young) disproportionately; that is, they kill more of these animals than one would expect given their abundance in a population.

      When you are referring to animals in a weakened state because of disease, old age, or injury, then “cull” is a perfectly legitimate term. When you are referring to animals that are “unlucky” (wrong place, wrong time), then “cull” seems inappropriate. However, the killing of young, animals that appear otherwise healthy may still be selective if, for example, they (or their parents) are behaving in some maladaptive manner that is linked to genetics. For example, if a cow dropped an otherwise healthy calf extremely early or late in the season, and the early/late birth was genetic; then elimination of the resulting calf could improve the local adaptations of the elk population over the long haul.

      Just something to consider.

  22. Si'vet Avatar

    WM, if we’re going to be fair, neither is harvest when it comes to killing animals, but I prefer it and use it for the exact reasons I’ve stated above.

    1. WM Avatar


      Yeah, I know it is a tough semantic call. However, the term “harvest” has both temporal and quantitative aspects which the other term (“killing animals”) does not. Harvest connotes an amount or quota (often against a stated number or objective) within a given period of time ( a season). It has long been a recognized term of art in wildlife management, including the college texts that teach the discipline. And, it does have that more gentile tone.

      “Cull” on the other hand, has limited application, unless one can make the rather large leap and call young healthy calf elk “defective” that warrant removal from the group of non-defective members.

  23. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I don’t know about Jim Beers but I have read that Maine Hunting Today and it is such a crackpot publication.

    1. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      Living in the area that all of this is going on, I can’t say any of this is crackpot anylonger, the lines are being drawn, and the war is being declared, unfortunately, things are not going to be fun for the next few years…

    1. JB Avatar

      “Elk are not livestock, but wildlife…The management of wildlife should not be based on the economic interests of any special interest group, but instead, should be based on the well being of the individual wildlife populations.”

      Well said! Too bad some hunters can’t seem to apply the same logic to wolves.

    2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      This would be way worse than any wolf “problem” could possibly be.

    3. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears


      This proposal is far worse than anything that has happened so far to wolves, think slaughter, complete and total! With the feds still somewhat involved in wolves, we know that won’t happen for a while…but this broad is NUTS

    4. Elk275 Avatar

      This is the worst thing that could happen. If the Barrett Ranch was allowed to sell big hunting licenses and all of the proceeds would go to the land owner then this would not even be a question.

    5. JB Avatar


      Don’t get me wrong, I agree this would be awful! I was just struck by the irony of this sentence:

      “The management of wildlife should not be based on the economic interests of any special interest group, but instead, should be based on the well being of the individual wildlife populations.”

      Maybe he should’ve included a caveat excluding wolves?

  24. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    Does anyone know what proportion of meat consumed in this country is supplied by western ranch livestock? It seems that I have seen numbers that indicate it’s a pretty low percentage (possibly single digits). If that’s the case, then it would be ridiculous to continue production if it means policies such as the one Save Bears posted above.

  25. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    The numbers I have heard vary between 3-6%…

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      The numbers also depend on whether you are talking about the numbers of animals or the percentage of beef.

      When you calculate it as the percentage of beef the number is lower, something like 2%.

  26. Jeff Avatar

    Some folks argue it is higher as a lot of western cattle wind up being finished in Kansas and Nebraska at big feedlots so those wind up counting on those states’ totals. I’d like to see some numbers and more specifically sources and how the numbers are tabulated

  27. Nancy Avatar

    Save Bears:
    Senator Debby Barrett
    Interesting to see the party breakdown and rating. No doubt where her interests lie.

  28. jon Avatar

    I think this may have been posted already, but I will post it again anyways.


    Can I get people’s thoughts and opinion on this?

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      This is the same whack job out of Dillon that introduced a bill a few years ago calling for the mandatory reduction of elk in south western Montana because the numbers were too high and were eating too much cow food.
      simple fact stated by my father a few decades ago concerning rancher mentality: If eat eats my livestock or eats what my livestock eats it has got to go.

    2. Salle Avatar


      I haven’t been paying much attention to the local news this past couple weeks, I’ve been busy with work. I can believe that someone devoted to the oligarchic interests of the livestock industry to come up with such an ill-founded proposal. The first thing that I thought while reading this article was that it’s good that someone has called her out publicly on this horrible idea. The second thought, that came up at the same time, was that I wonder if she is related to that anti-wildlife wench from Idaho, state Rep. Lenore Barrett. The two geographic areas that these two represent aren’t all that far apart. Lenore’s district includes Island Park, ID and I am not certain of the boundaries of the MT region that the MT Senator erepresents but they are close enough for the two to border each other which means that they could be representing a very large swath of territory in the two states – an area that covers a lot of ranch and range lands.

      If these two are related, it would be a good indication that they collaborate. It could also be possible that they collaborate within the livestock industry agenda.

      Just a couple thoughts…

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Ya know Salle that is a good catch right there. when I read this post by Jon I wondered at first about our resident Idaho whack job by that name and when I re-read it i recalled the story from a few years ago. Just did not connect the dots. I bet you are right. have to research that a bit.

  29. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I posted it a couple of days ago, and it would be one of the worst things to happen to wildlife management in the state of Montana, notice how it is currently worded “Extend to other Wildlife” Although it is suspected to be targeting Elk, with that type of wording, she is trying to gut the authority of the Game Dept. and turn it over to Montana Livestock..

  30. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Don´t know if this has already been covered cause I was unable to closely follow this blog recently: Another Florida Panther hit by car. Already the tenth recorded loss for 2010. See http://www.nbc-2.com/Global/story.asp?S=12324496
    Good (google) Map attached to the article

    1. grdnrmt Avatar

      Thanks for posting Peter. Was just down there in March.

  31. grdnrmt Avatar

    Article in USA Today about declining mule deer herds in the west, and what some propose as a solution.


    1. WM Avatar

      It’s not just wildlife these sicko kids are going after for their thrills. It is domestic livestock, horses, burros and calves. Baseball bats seem to be an implement of choice. Investigating law enforcement is the local sheriff or animal shelter officers instead of wildlife officials. And it is not just in the West.

    2. Cobra Avatar

      Seems to me it’s time to take some kids behind the wood shed. Amazing what can be learned with a switch. If that doesn’t work make them split wood until their to tired to swing a bat.

    3. WM Avatar


      Interesting you should mention that. A Texas school district focused exactly on the point. Against a backdrop of conventional beliefs of most states which find corporal punishment illegal (Texas is not one of them but does not endorse its use) this particular, and fairly large, school district found that the threat of a paddle was enough to create very substantially improve student behavior.


    1. WM Avatar


      Don’t make too much of that quick summary of Kelly Proffit et al’s. study. Their conclusion as reflected in the study abstract (doesn’t even mention wolves) was focused more on the fact that the elk moved to areas of refuge away from hunters on private lands and YNP that it made it harder for hunters to get them. In contrast to wolves, which just moved them around a bit (you know, into the brush on steeper ground etc.) or follow them into the areas hunters could not legally go. The message regarding wolves is – resistance is futile and they only take what they need (usually).

      Proffitt is the new chief biologist for MGFP replacing Ken Hamlin. He, by the way is one several co-authors of the study, and the results of their work may even already be in the MT wolf-ungulate report from 2009 (It is cited there).


    2. Jay Avatar

      Perhaps if they analyzed elk pellets rather than comparing actual movements and proximity of gps-collared elk and wolves, they might have been able to place more blame on the wolves. Clearly this peer-reviewed article is nonsense.

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      I never use a newspaper article as the sole basis for any of my opinions or thoughts on a subject.

    4. JB Avatar

      Here is their concluding paragraph (where wolves are discussed). Draw your own conclusions:

      Wolf predation risk may have influenced elk selection for windswept grassland areas, although we were not able to evaluate these effects because wolf GPS collars failed partway through the study. One pack of 9 wolves used the study area during winter 2005–2006 and one pack of 6 wolves used the study area during winter 2006–2007. Previous studies reported contrasting effects of wolves on selection for open grasslands (Creel et al. 2005, Mao et al. 2005). Snowpack may influence an elk’s ability to flee coursing predators and increase vulnerability to attack, and selection for grassland flats may also reflect risk-driven decisions to occupy areas increasing ease of movement and maneuverability (Mech and Peterson 2003, Smith et al. 2004). Alternatively, wolf predation risk may increase selection for forested areas where predation risk or detection is lower (Creel et al. 2005). Elk behavioral responses to wolf predation risk may have influenced habitat selection decisions; however, previous studies at this site showed elk responses to wolf predation risk were less than responses to human predation risk, and wolf predation risk likely had little influence on elk selection of refuge areas (Proffitt et al. 2009).

    5. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      by the way WM I am still waiting on those cites that reference wolves having killed 50% of yellowstone’ elk population.

    6. Layton Avatar

      “A team of scientists from Montana State University found that elk moved dramatically as soon as hunting season opened, heading to private ranches or Yellowstone National Park, where hunting is not allowed. Meanwhile, the elk made only modest adjustments to their behavior when wolves were close by.”

      Now I know that I’m not a “peer” when it comes to these super scientific studies, and I’m pretty sure that, being one of the few “dissenters” on this blog, my “peer review” won’t count much, but I’d like to try and make a point here anyway.

      The study references the “opening of hunting season” and compares it to wolves being “close by”. Then, in the paragraph the JB quotes, it says:

      ” One pack of 9 wolves used the study area during winter 2005–2006 and one pack of 6 wolves used the study area during winter 2006–2007.”

      I would just like to point out that comparing “the opening of hunting season” with literally thousands of hunters and the associated number of RV’s, ATV’s, noise, traffic and just the general disturbance caused by this event, is surely not a realistic comparison with a pack of wolves coming around with 6 or 9 wolves in it.

      Am I just being to simplistic??

    7. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      I would also be interested in knowing, which hunting season, they are talking about, is it the general hunting season or the bow hunting season, I know for a fact, elk do not disperse the same way during bow hunting season as they do during gun hunting season..

    8. WM Avatar


      I haven’t forgotten about you regarding my comment, which if I recall correctly was something the effect of “up to 50% in YNP,” which should probably been GYA, which gives some wiggle room. I am no expert on wolves and Yellowstone, and have never claimed to be. Just trying to learn along with everybody else.

      The best I can do, for now, is the discussion in the Hamlin-Cunningham report (reviewing the research in the GYA herds: The Madison and Yellowstone North Range herds are primarily in the Park; and the Gallatin, YE Yellowstone Valley, Lower Madison, etc. outside the Park but in the GYA. All are under study by either MSU or FWP) beginning at p. 29, and including Figures 17 (p. 34), 20, and 21.

      I am also concerned about the how statistics account for elk which migrate out of the Park in winter, but are largely resident for the remainder of the year (with of course wolves following them taking the old, weak and injured, along with the rutted out bulls, and the substantial diet of the young – and yes, along with other predators {bears don’t migrate in winter or take any elk in winter as they are hibernating}. We are all pretty familiar with the idea now that neither wolves nor their prey acknowledge administrative boundaries (except possibly to avoid hunters as noted in the Proffitt study abpve).

      There is also some good discussion about Indirect Effects of Wolves on Ungulates, beginning at p. 46.

      I had also hoped to find some information from the 2009 book, “The Ecology of Large Mammals in Central Yellowstone: Sixteen Years of Integrated Field Studies,” edited by Robert Garrott, et al., but at about $100 per copy, I am afraid I do not have access to it.

  32. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Jon, WM, and Cobra, that is some pretty sick stuff to have happen. I agree, these kids need to be held accountable. Who is to say they won’t have the same disregard for people someday?

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      this type of behavior has for many years been recognized as a precursor to escalated violence with humans. Almost all, if not all, known serial killers exhibited similar traits in there childhood years. usually there will be an instigator who may not be the actual individual doing the blood work as voyeurism is a strong driving component of such behaviour.

  33. RLMiller Avatar

    From California: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0420-bear-hunting-20100420,0,1356627.story

    Bears have occasionally wandered into my neighborhood to take a dip in a jacuzzi (hey, they’re California bears!)

    Question for this group, from one of the 99% who is appalled that anyone in the state would hunt bears for sport: is the tip switch on a dog’s GPS collar described in the article a reasonably common device? It doesn’t sound too sporting, but I plead ignorance.

    1. Layton Avatar

      A “tip switch” is simply used to tell a houndsman when his dogs have “treed” a bear.

      Normally, as the hunter they interviewed said, the people trailing the dogs can hear the change in their baying and they know when they are on a tree.

      Other times, if the pack gets out of range over another mountain or something, they can’t hear them. Rather than continue trying to chase them the houndsman/hunter will start chasing ridges to try and intercept them. If a pack is on a tree they will often stay there for several hours, making the “high ground” pursuit useless.

      Since some of the people that hound hunt now use GPS collars and they don’t need tip switches to know where the pack is, I’m not sure why they even want them. Maybe because that’s the only way the collars are being built now?? Don’t know, I’m not a hound hunter.

      I really don’t know why they would add or detract from the current “sportiness” of this method of hunting bears.

  34. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    Forgot to add my way of “raising bison” went AP Sunday. Also if you are flying anytime soon (May-June) some of the airlines will feature my concept in the backs of those seats just in front of you.

    And if you look up on Yahoo search under, bob jackson bison (or just put in “bob jackson” in Western Producer’s search on their web site), You will see an article that came out in the Nov. edition of Western Producer, the largest ag publication in Canada. The one in Western producer, I thought, did a pretty good job of explaining the concept. Even got some cadoos from the range science academic community. Ta Da.

    1. jon Avatar

      Good article. You can shoot a predator with a camera and keep on shooting it. Once a hunter shoots a predator with their gun, the predator isn’t coming back. That is one less predator for tourists to see.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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