This replaces the 31st edition.

Greenback Cutthroat Trout.  Rocky Mountain National Park. © Ken Cole

Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Rocky Mountain National Park. © Ken Cole

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

604 Responses to Have you come across any interesting wildlife news? August 4, 2011

  1. avatar Bob says:

    Next time try wetting your hand before picking up your catch it may just live longer. You’ve more than likely set that one fate.

    • avatar WM says:

      The greenback cutthroat was thought to have been extinct as far back as 1937. I remember having conversations with Rolf Nittman of the CO Div. of Wildlife in Ft. Collins, and Dr. Robert Behnke of Colorado State U, during the recovery in the early 80’s. The greenback was only known to exist in the headwaters of the S. Platte (primarily the Big Thompson which originates in Rocky Mtn. NP) and the Arkansas River in Southern CO, both Front Range rivers. They were on the ESA as endangered for a very long time, then upgraded to threatened in the mid-90’s. I think they have been off the list for several years now. This is a great success story!

      But Ken, you should know better than to pick em up with a dry hand, and you are a fisheries guy, aren’t you? Bad, Bad!

      Why were they endangered, you might ask? Well, early settlers and state fisheries managers brought in non-native species with which they could not compete very well. Eastern brook, rainbow, german browns, to name a few, did much better. The water in these streams as they left the mountains, and entered the plains also got warmer and in streches non-existent as water was diverted from stream channels to serve agriculture (James Michener’s novel Centennial speaks of this, if I recall correctly). In CO water appropriators can completely dry up a stream, unless water must be available to downstream appropriators OR has been legally procured specifically for protection of IN-STREAM flows.

      • avatar David says:

        Glad I wasn’t the only one that was thinking that… I bit my tongue.

      • I did a bit of greenback cutthroat trout back in my days in Colorado and with CSU. The most well-guarded population of fish in the world is a pond that is fed by a pumped well on the Ft Carson Military Base near Colorado Springs, CO. Armed soldiers guard the fenced aquatic habitat that contains beautiful greenback cutthroat trout and Arkansas darters (in the artificial stream that flows from the well pump to the pond) in this restricted area on the base. One caveat, when I was allowed in with a famous Japanese salmonid biologist to take some photos, was not to discuss with the guards what they were guarding – part of their training – guard it, don’t ask why.

        This life history paper from CSU has quite a bit on the rare salmonid –

        The fish readily hybridizes with non-native hatchery Yellowstone cutthroat trout as well as rainbow trout. They are also, like many other stream-dwelling cutthroat trout, relatively easy to catch so they are subject to overfishing. In the Upper Arkansas River, besides these woes, a Century of heavy metals and acids associated with legacy mining from Leadville and other mining districts have taken their toll (lots of very thin, sometimes deformed fish). and then there was whirling disease (originally from an Idaho private rainbow trout hatchery – supposedly). From my personal observations from many, many years of fishing the Poudre River upstream of Ft Collins, greenback cutthroat trout seem to be much more susceptible to whirling disease than the other introduced salmonids. Places where I used to catch only pure greenback cutthroat trout are now dominated by brown trout with some rainbow trout and brook trout.

        And working for WWP, cannot forget grazing and its effects on habitat and fishes – there are cows and still sheep in some of the historic waters. Also places like the South Platte, famous for its tailwater brown trout fishery, are not only dammed and regulated but invaded by highly sought-after non-native salmonids.

        Most of the native cutthroat trout streams in Colorado are in headwater streams instead of the bigger waters that they historically plied – Rio Grande cutthroats in the Rio Grande (not browns and rainbows), Colorado River cutthroats in the Gunnison, and then greenback cutthroat trout in the South Platte River, Arkansas River, and Poudre River, including the flatter trophy waters haunted by fly anglers today.

        This one from the FS is about its recovery history:

        and this from the FWS shows that it is still listed under ESA as THREATENED:

        There was some weirdness concerning greenback cutthroat trout based on molecular genetics work out of U of Colorado – Boulder. Keep in mind when I discussed this with Dr. Behnke, he thought it would not be too surprising that Colorado River cutthroat trout and greenback cutthroat trout, which have not been separated as geographic subspecies for too long, would be similar using DNA satellite and other modern genetic techniques… and because they are dealing with populations on the decline with loss of genetic diversity and inbreeding. Of course, most fish bios and molecular geneticists are behind the curve messing with only a fragment of the genetic information available instead of a comparison of the genomes.

        Basically, some molecular geneticists, particularly at University of Colorado love to sling arrows and throw rocks at Dr. Behnke’s old-style morphometrics phylogenies – guess it makes them feel good.

        In any case, this new genetics research had one benefit, in addition to stirring up debate among fish biologists — it kept the fish on the ESA threatened list since some of the recovered populations are no longer considered pure greenback cutthroat trout.

        In a similar vein, the molecular geneticists decided that Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout and Yellowstone cutthroat trout were not just closely related and nearby geographically with now some overlap, but rather were only one subspecies. This has been a real disaster for the fish populations that were formerly known as Yellowstone cutthroat trout since they are declining and deserve ESA protections and recovery efforts. Rather, by combining them with their Snake River fine-spotted cousins – and the FWS buying it entirely, hook, line and sinker – the “Yellowstone cutthroat trout” no longer warrants protections under ESA since there are so many more fish (Yellowstone + Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout) and so many more miles or acres of occupied habitat. This is really more like protecting “paper fish” than genetic and phenotypic diversity of Western native cutthroat trouts.

        • avatar WM says:


          To your knowledge were the greenback cutthroat in the Poudre reintroduced, or part of the lost but rediscovered native population high in the RMNP part of the Poudre drainage?

          Ah, yes, the mining problems of the Upper Arkansas. Ming, a gift that just keeps on giving in so many headwaters of CO streams.

          Did you ever work with Pat Davies at Div. Wildlife?

          • avatar WM says:


            ++….Mining, the gift that just keeps on giving….++

            And thanks for the update on greenbacks research and stocking, I incorrectly presumed they were full ESA recovered, after reading success stories from years ago. Clearly they are not, and the feds/state seem to be screwing it up even more as time passes.

            As an aside to the plight of native vs non-native species, when I first started fishing the Wind River Range thirty plus years ago, I encountered cutthroat that looked like hybrids with rainbows, particularly in the Chain Lakes. Not sure what the condition is today, but presume the fish today may look even more like rainbows.

          • WM:

            Many of the populations of greenback cutthroat trout in the Poudre River and its tribs, like Sheep Creek (a cooperative TU-FS restoration project with livestock exclusion fencing), were part of reintroductions, but I suspect small tribs always harbored them, although they are not very good competitors with introduced fishes, and again, are very susceptible to being fished out, even by well-meaning catch-and-release fly anglers. On the other hand, I used to love fishing some of the very small headwater streams of the Cache La Poudre River, some of which originated from the Mummy Range in Rocky Mountain National Park. Joe Wright Creek and tribs and Corral Creek come to mind, and I have little doubt that those greenback cutthroat trout were there way before the CoDOW and US FWS (and its predecessors) started monkeying with fisheries with transplants and hatcheries.

            I remember some of the fish you were mentioning from the Wind River Mountains from fishing adventures and a very short summer stint with WY G&F out of their Cody Regional Office. If they are anything like Idaho and perhaps Colorado, to help protect native cutthroat trout, they tend to stock sterile triploid rainbow trout and sometimes cutbows (rainbow trout-Yellowstone cutthroat trout hybrids) for put-and-catch fisheries. Not only are there no threats of genetic introgression, swamping, or hybridization with these finny frankensteins, but they tend to grow bigger and faster since they don’t “waste” any energy and nutrients on eggs and sperm. Doc Behnke suggested this type of fishery management years ago, some Western F&G agencies embraced the idea, and it is very possible that the recently caught very large salmonid from the American Falls area of the Snake River Basin might have been a sterile triploid creation.

          • avatar WM says:


            I think Mark Gamblin confirmed the American Falls rainbow was a triploid, on another thread. It was nice to engage him on a more neutral topic. WA has has had a triploid stocking program for about 12 years, as do some other Western states.

            I have a friend who has fished the Winds for over 30 years and has written down the stats for every lake he has fished and the characteristics of what he caught. Interesting to see some lakes cycle through over time, if they don’t get stocked. I can’t tell you how many times I fished Wall Lake for goldens, trying nearly everything legal to entice them and never caught one. I do not recall my friend ever mentioning Triploids. The cut/bows I don’t know either but some of these lakes I fished 13-30 years ago as well, but the next time I talk to him, I will address the topic, since he still fishes them nearly every year, for some pretty long stretches of up to 3 weeks in the back country.

    • avatar JB says:

      Catch-related mortality is a tricky thing. I was once on a study that assessed post-release mortality of walleye at C&R tournaments. I’ve never been (nor will I likely ever be) on a study with such a simple conclusion: high temperatures kill the fish–nothing else matters (for walleye).

      Bob and WM are correct in asserting that the BMP for handling trout is wet hands, however, I am not aware of any systematic evaluation of this technique. Interestingly, one study that compared hand-captured with net-captured trout found no mortality in hand-captured trout and 4-14% in net-captured trout (see:

      Another study that specifically examined post-release mortality in cutthroat found mortality was extremely low (.3%) and estimated that cutthroat were captured an average of 10 times during the study (1981; see

      Perhaps Seak can weigh in?

      • avatar Ken Cole says:

        They are right that I should have wetted my hands before handling the fish, however, I had my camera at the ready and, since the fish was so small, I was able to lift it quickly out of the water and cradled it in my hand only long enough to snap the photo. I never squeezed the fish and the fish went directly back to the water.

        The process only took a matter of 10 seconds or so. I highly doubt that it died like a gut shot wolf.

        The 10 non-native brook trout, that I caught in the neighboring stream which also contained greenback cutthroat, weren’t so lucky.

        I have also read studies about the post-release mortality being very low and recapture rate very high in places like Yellowstone National Park.

        I was very careful, but maybe not as careful as I should have been. I apologize to the fish but I think it was fine.

        • avatar WM says:


          Just giving you a little ribbing, and hope you don’t mind too much. No doubt in my mind you respected the fish, – and see, your hand was wet when you scooped it up. That is a whole lot less stressful than what an electro shocking survey team puts them through, as you know (instantaneous shock to unconsciousness, net, water pail, weighing, maybe an electronic tracking device inserted through an incision, and back to the river or lake). Most of those survive, though there are probably some easy meals for the bigger fish that didn’t get shocked, while those poor harassed fish are re-orienting themselves after the scientific abuse.

          While we await Seak’s input to JB’s question, here is the WA rule for trout and salmon: Short answer: for a fish you will release, keep the fish in the water, don’t touch it if you can avoid doing so, and especially stay away from gills and eyes.

          Use a dehooking devise (like pliers or a specialty tool) for jaw or mouth hooked fish, cut the line if the fish swallowed a hook, no net to control it, but if you do, use a knotless/rubber mesh one (mandatory for some flyfishing areas). The rule applies to trout, salmon, steelhead (searun trout), dolly varden/bull trout.

          • avatar Daniel Berg says:

            Do you always cut the line if the trout swallows the hook? I have not done that in the past. With dry flys on the line tied with lots of hackle, I assumed it would act as too much of a blocking mechanism. It happens more often to me with nymphs, but some of those are tied with a decent amount of material as well.

            It doesn’t happen so often with trout, but white fish sometimes present more of a problem. Suckers and Squaw Fish I’m not as delicate with anyway.

          • avatar PointsWest says:

            What kind of cretin are you! You mean you don’t care if suckers and squaw fish suffer and die??!! What if that was your family laying out there dying in the hot sun? Your kind really makes me want to puke! Sicko! Maybe we should lay you out there to die. Don’t bring your skeletons out of the closet to make us normal humans have to see them. Yuk!

          • avatar Elk275 says:


            Debarb the hook and 99.9% of all problems solved.

          • avatar Daniel Berg says:


            Yeah, in most cases I use barbless hooks. It does make it much easier to remove a swallowed fly.

          • Not so sure about barbless hooks, although they make TU-types feel better about catch-and-release. I could see where a barbless hook would penetrate the upper palate of the trout if it was hooked in the mouth instead of the lips, and because it was barbless, would penetrate further into the soft, vasculized tissues. Much easier to unhook than a fish that swollowed baited, barbed hook. However, once off, I could imagine the fish going off to a nearby pool or undercut bank and bleeding to death – out of sight of anglers.

            The flip side are large, treble hooks, often found on plugs like Rapalas and Jitterbugs (for the bass and bluegill person below). If hooked in the lips, no problem. I would think there would be less of a chance of a trout or salmon swallowing a plug with a treble hook or two than a small fly, with a sharp, barbless hook.

            In any case, jury is out, until someone conducts the controlled trials. Any takers?

            Yes I remember Pat D from Colorado Division of Wildlife. That outfit funded much of my Ph.D. research on fishes of the Rio Grande and upper San Luis Basin, but also employed me seasonally for rare trout recovery and fish surveys, mostly in streams.

          • avatar Daniel Berg says:


            Do you think even a trout hooked in the mouth with a size 16, 18, or 20 barbless fly could bleed to death?

            I know it would take a study to know for certain, but I am curious to know how the size/type of the hook and size of fish would affect mortality.

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        JB —
        Thanks for the references. While honored that my opinion is sought, I unfortunately don’t have anything scientific to contribute on methods of releasing trout other than observations similar to other avid fly fishermen. And while I was a fanatic fly fisher as a kid, I don’t do nearly as much any more. I used to love riding my bike down below Mammoth and fishing the Gardner between boiling and the big bridge east of town — just plain good for your health and sanity, and we ate a lot of trout in those days too. I never developed the sophistication to do well on finicky fish in big water. While my true love has been dry fly fishing on small streams and while there is good freshwater trout, steelhead and salmon fishing here with fly gear, much less of it is dry fly fishing as we don’t seem to have the big hatches and definitely no grasshoppers — most is using small fish, egg and leech imitations, etc.

        I have almost always released fish without taking them out of the water, unless for a quick photo and think the mortality on carefully handled fish with small flies is probably very low, although it would not be possible to know without a controlled study over time. I do think catch-and-release fishing can get a little extreme. Last September, my wife and I hiked into Sportsman’s Lake in Yellowstone. For a tiny lake of 4 acres or so, it is an incredible native cutthroat fishery. We passed two guys on the trail coming out that said they had caught and released 130 fish, and their gear appeared to be spinning gear which can be rougher on fish, especially with treble hooks. That seemed a bit excessive. My wife and I caught and released just 8 or so, just to see and appreciate what was there. That fishery is catch and release only, but not far away and a dozen years earlier we introduced our kids to the joys of both catching and eating trout on the abundant and ravenous brookies in the upper Gardner and Fawn Creek, where in the 1960s I had done some of my earliest fly fishing.

        My only fairly quantifiable information on handling mortality comes from coho salmon. They can be very fragile when first entering freshwater in very bright condition. In fact, anybody who does pink salmon escapement surveys by foot in late August will become accustomed to seeing 1 or 2 bright coho salmon lying dead on the bottom of those systems that are also good coho producers. That mortality is no doubt due to mostly to osmoregulatory stress from attempting the transition from salt to freshwater. However, it complicates handling the earlier migrants through a weir and they generally also seem to be more susceptible to fungus and other invasions at that time when losing protective slim, before their scales are firmly set. However, once they have been in freshwater for awhile they toughen up to the point where they can be seined by the hundreds and handled without ever losing any, even those with terrible wounds from seals, eagles, etc. We attempt to capture and mark 100% of the coho salmon that enter a system past a weir, with many of those measured and a few scales plucked. The reason for being so intensive with the marking is that operating a weir in this region with extreme rains around and after the fall equinox when cohos are running is a marginal activity. Weirs are usually held intact through our awesome fall deluges but not always, and preparing for the worst requires doing everything possible to make a back-up mark-recapture estimate.

        In some of our earliest attempts, we did have disconcertingly high mortality on the earliest fish and found that it was largely from trying to handle them without enough anesthetic (formerly MS-222, more recently clove oil). They are big strong fish and trying to restrain them while sampling causes scale and slim loss that results in infection and since the earliest fish often hold for months (commonly 1 to 4 months) before spawning, it has plenty of time to become a problem. However, we have found that using adequate anesthetic so there is little or no struggling is key (along with careful handling and providing a quiet, protected recovery area). The crew keeps a list of all marked, unspawned wash-ups on the weir and those are subtracted from marks released (for mark-recapture estimation purposes) under the conservative assumption that they were caused by handling mortality. That assumption is conservative because a fair number of fish are already in rough shape with predator injuries and/or fungus when they arrive — and as I mentioned there is even some observed mortality from the adjustment to freshwater in fish that never make it to the weir. Of course, on the other side, the bears beat us to some of those that wash up, and don’t always leave enough to determine if it was marked. In any case, with those precautions, the number of recorded unspawned, marked wash-ups at one weir where the likelihood of dead fish washing up is high has been running around 10–20 fish annually in recent years out of typically 1,500-5,000 fish handled and passed upstream.

        • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

          I should mention those fish are dipnetted out of the trap and anethesized in a tub, given a dorsal fin clip or opercle punch with some measured and sampled for scales on a measuring obard and those with adipose clips sampled with a wand magnetic field detector for the presence of a coded-wire tag. Another key is using soft knotless dipnet material, as the harder knotted material on commercial salmon landing nets causes scale loss. I think most trout dipnets now use soft, knotless material.

        • avatar JB says:

          Thanks for the lesson, Seak! I grew up fishing for bluegill, sunnies and rock bass on the Muskegon River (in Michigan). Mostly worms and bobbers, I’m afraid…though the eating was great! I’ve learned bits and pieces hanging around “squeezers” over the years, but I’m afraid my knowledge of fish in general (and salmonids, in particular) is woefully inadequate.

        • Yep, Doctor Behnke and I used to discuss this one and he and I always thought that a nasty prick in the vomer – top or roof of the mouth – might let a fish bleed slowly to death – but it would appear to merrily swim away. Certainly known in the literature if the hook gets into the gills and you see blood, that trout is toast.

 this seems to attribute death to bleeding fish vs non-bleeding fish.

          • If you look at the above study, it turns out it is not the size of the hook but its shape that determines penetration, and ultimately, its lethality.

            So… a typical “j”-shaped hook penetrates, while the newer design of so-called “circle” hooks don’t cause bleeding as often.

            Before I dip my next flyline, I will be checking the availability of circle hooks for my favorite dry fly and nymph patterns.

            I think I used to use some version of the circle hook in my “bait” days with fresh salmon roe, while fishing for Great Lakes’ steelhead, Coho salmon, lake-run brown trout, and Chinook salmon in the other Salmon River; that is, the one north of Syracuse, NY, on the leeward side of Lake Ontario. In one small trib, Orwell Brook, in all my 50 years of angling and 30+ as a fish biologist, it is the only place I have ever been bowled over by a fish – it was a 40 lb or so Chinook salmon, fresh out of Lake Ontario (a relatively short hop leaving its muscles intact, unlike the “bags of oil or fuel” that travel some 1,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Upper Salmon near Stanley, ID), and it clipped me behind the knees.

    • avatar Peter.Kiermeir says:

      Seems they camped deep in polar bear territory. Of course the bear was killed (note, they say “killing” not “euthanized”).

    • avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

      Bear was killed, possibly by the guide, cause normally you do enter the area only with an armed guide (Note, they do not say “euthanized”.

      • avatar Harley says:

        Bah, now you have me looking for the articles to see if it says ‘euthanized’ or ‘killed’. Do you think there is a distinction when the animal was killed right away, right after the incident, as opposed to having to hunt it down and ‘euthanize’ it because using that term seems somehow more human? Or is it simply at the whim of the editor of that article?

        • avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

          I do not know. Maybe it´s just the subtle difference between “British” English and “American” English. Nevertheless, I´ve never noticed terms like “euthanized” or “harvested” in the European media when a animal was “killed”.

  2. avatar PointsWest says:

    FBI widens Ruper Murdoch’s News Corp inquiry after alleged computer hacking by subsidiary…

  3. avatar jon says:

    Is hunting wolves key to their conservation?

    “University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers Adrian Treves and Kerry Martin surveyed 2,320 residents of Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming — including both hunters and non-hunters — between 2001 and 2007. Their findings, appearing in the August issue of the peer-reviewed journal Society and Natural Resources, reveal hunter attitudes toward wolves that are largely inconsistent with stewardship.”

    Gee, what a shocker, NOT!

  4. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I’m wondering if we should start a “blocked comment thread” here.

    I’ll say it now, if we didn’t block or moderate comments here this place would drive everyone nuts and it would degrade into a stupid, pointless name calling festival.

    There have been some doosies over the years.

    Blocked comments of the day on the Wildlife News:
    The “wingnuts” as you are the ones who elected him El Presidente’ or however you say it in Arabic? Now, while I do not agree with the slaughter the wolves, the world seemed like a pretty good place prior to having the shoved down our throats. Where I reside (Id Panhandle) the introduction of your Canadian dandies have decimated what was left of the true residents of our area the Timber Wolves. While we are at it you dis mankind for these proposed, suspected and expected means of dispatching these rogue agents yet there is plenty of evidence to see how the monsters kill other species and not just for food sometimes just for the fun of it. Look around you blind mice. Thnx Mike
    I hear wolf meat is kind of stringy but I prefer vegetables although I have others pick them for me as I cannot stand the way they cry out when I pluck them from the ground. Putting them in the stew pot is even worse I only eat them raw.

    • avatar jon says:

      I think we should. It would keep the haters from reading what is being said on here. Just my opinion. I think there should be a login and the website is blocked from people seeing it who aren’t logged in.

    • avatar CodyCoyote says:

      Ken— a pox on me for suggesting anything that would increase your burdens at this fine blog. Yours and Ralph’s and Brian’s efforts and altruism are genuinely appreciated , moreso in the face of all the muck and bletch you must engage along with the considered opinion.

      But wouldn’t it be fun to compile a simple weekly Box Score of all the posts you moderated away ? Rows and Columns of categories like Run-ons….Hits… Errors … Threats …Tirades…Bad English and Grammar… Really Awful English and Darn Little Grammar … Incomprehensible … Walking Talking Darwin Award Waiting To Happen … and this week’s honorable mention Godwin’s Law recipient for Best Invocation of Enviros as Nazis. Ad absurdum.

      There would be value in compiling the inane blather. But someone from Idaho who works around silage or the feed lots would have to do it , just to be pre-conditioned to the stench.
      Having said all that , thanks for all you do.

  5. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Salon just published a short fierce article online about this current Congress– especially the GOP majority US House—being the most anti-environmental session ever.

    Be sure and download Waxman and Markey’s PDF summary of the 110 pieces of pro-environment legislation that were blocked or hogtied since January.

    Friday’s LA Times editorial reviews the debacle over the Dept. of Interior funding bill and other environmental travesties of Congress in piece entitled ” GOP vs. Mother Nature ”,0,6952661.story

    Sorry to post such depressing stuff at the beginning of the weekend , but we have our work cut out for us. Yours and mine congressmen are coming home on summer vacation and we should all give them an ear full on their job performance, especially on these sorts of issues.

    • avatar Leslie says:

      Lummis? What a lost cause she is…

      • avatar CodyCoyote says:

        Yes, Lummis is a lost cause. Which is why she definitely needs get an earful. By at least hearing there is another side to coins, paper, and the Universe, it might dawn on her that the real world outside her conservative right wing straight-ticket-Republican fishbowl is somewhat different and more complex than she percieves it to be.

  6. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Blocked comment of the day:

    How can you say (oh cause your a liberal) that the two Wolves are the same. Canadians are twice the size. All your babbling is typical of your liberalism as Clinton was to his statement on sex with that woman. People that have contributed for generations to Hunting and Fishing license for conservation and programs for wildlife is being taken away by your introduction of a specises that was removed for a reason. Wolves are unchecked in population growth. For you (numbers are kept in check). So yes ***** if a person is out in the field and a or some Wolves come by guess what, population controll is takenncare of no conversation with a liberal which is like a broken record, bla bla bla bla. What have you contributed to wildlife? Nothing except a killing machine thats unchecked and a loss of wildlife that will take generations to bring back if it’s not to late already.

  7. avatar JEFF E says:

    I don’t really care for zoos but the pic of the snake and frog caught my eye.
    Bob you may not want to look and damage your delicate sensibilities of what happens in nature. I mean my God the frog is alive.

    • avatar Woody says:

      Once when a kid, I watched several live, recently metamorphosed toads hopping out of garter snake that had been shot in two with an arrow.

  8. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    “Claims totaling $10 million filed in death of hiker gored by goat”

    I hope those people don’t get a nickel. The individuals filing these lawsuits should be ashamed of themselves.

    • avatar jon says:

      The park is liable? What bs. You cannot keep wild animals contained in the wild. Humans should know when you enter the wild or wherever there is known to be wild animals, there will always be risk, so enter at your own risk and accept the consequences of your own actions. Sorry to hear that that man died, but he was the one that got himself killed. You don’t see the family of the yellowstone hiker who recently died from a bear suing yellowstone. People need to be held accountable for their own actions. I hope these people don’t get a nickel either.

    • avatar WM says:

      Mountain goats are not native to the ONP. ONP has been trying to control their numbers and where they are since the late 1990’s, and not doing a particurly good job because people like the goats and animal rights folks don’t want to see them killed (they darted some and they died, with one falling off a cliff in front of some folks, causing quite an uproar with the animal rights community). Boardman (the guy who died) was a well respected an prominent PA resident, who as I understand it was trying to help others escape this nasty goat, that has a history of being aggressive. The aggressive nature means ONP should have killed the goat.

      John Messina, the lawyer for Boardman’s estate in this wrongful death action is a very good lawyer.

      Legal claim: Negligence on the part of the park for failure to remove a dangerous animal (goat with a known history of aggression). Defense: Assumption of risk
      Counter to Defense: Plaintiff was acting as a good Samaritan.

      Verdict: Don’t rule on this one so fast. Maybe no trial but very good chance of a large settlement.

      • avatar Daniel Berg says:

        Do you think an “avid outdoorsman” would want his legacy to be that his estate drilled the already cash-strapped NPS for $10 million dollars? I don’t know whether the NPS carries insurance for litigation involving fatal mountain goat attacks.

        A quick Google seach yielded no other reports of fatal mountain goat attacks. There doesn’t seem to be much precedent for it. Something that may help the plaintiff is an ONP mountain goat attack in 1999 on Mike Stoican, which resulted in his goring.

        Can an individual sue the NPS over any kind of attack involving any kind of animal that has shown any kind of aggression towards humans, even if it is a species that only very rarely displays that type of behavior?

        • avatar Harley says:

          That’s a tough question Daniel. My way of thinking is that if a person wanders into a ‘wilderness’ area unprepared and uninformed, that’s one thing but if there is an animal that is a known aggressor, well, I’m not sure. Where does the responsibility of the park come into play with something of that matter? What is the level of responsibility of the park with a known aggressive animal within the boundaries of the park?
          With that said, 10 million is a tad bit excessive….

          • avatar jon says:

            whether an animal is known to be aggressive or not, any animal can become aggressive, so I don’t think the park should be held responsible for someone dying to a wild animal. Before you enter a national park, there should be a sign that says enter at your own risk and understand that there are potentionally deadly wild animals around. A wild animal doesn’t have to have a history of aggression towards people for it to attack you for whatever reason.


          • avatar Elk275 says:

            Years ago, I was canoeing from Mana Pools, Zimbabwe to Cahora Bassa, Mozambique. The assistant guide, Greg, was in the stern of the canoe and I was paddling in the front. We had been on the Zambezi River for several days and each day the crocs and hippos numbers were increasing After several very close encounters, I was getting a bit apprehensive and a little scared. We were talking and I mentioned that in the US if someone is injured by a wild animal in a national park there can and will be litigation and if the plaintiff wins the Park Service will have to pay. Greg was quiet for some time. He then said “Go tell that to a Zimbabwe judge.”

            Today the hippo and croc numbers have increase so much that most lodges and guides do not recommend the trip anymore. It was one of my favorite adventures.

          • avatar Harley says:

            I’m not talking about the random attacks Jon. I’m saying if there is an animal that is KNOWN for it’s aggression and it is in the boundary of the park, I think it’s the park’s responsibility to either relocate the animal or at least put up some kind of special warning. If something is known ahead of time, logic would say that it could have been prevented, yes?

          • avatar jon says:

            Oh my god elk, I would have been terrified being that close to hippos and nile crocodiles. Those crocodiles over them parts can reach close to 20 feet and weigh up to a ton. Aren’t hippos considered the most dangerous animal in africa? I believe they are. reminds me of this story.


          • avatar jon says:

            elk, have you ever been to India or Russia?

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            NO. I have been at the Indian border in Nepal after an extended stay in Royal Chitwin National Park, we did not see any tigers; I have been to Northern Mongolia near the Russia Border. I had tickets and reservations in the spring of 1979 to journey through Indian and overland to London. I said to myself what is a little revolution in Iran going to matter, these things blow over in a month. Revolutions are a normal course in human events why miss it.

            Walking down the streets of Bangkok I met an American couple who had just flown in from Tehran, several days earlier they and about 20 other people had been line up against the wall of the Intercontinental Hotel while the Revolutionary Guards talked between there selves with their fingers in the trigger guards firing an occasional round in the air. After a few minutes extreme tension they were freed. There were no non believers in the group of people while lined up against the wall. I flew to Turkey instead. The ironic thing is that after they got to Bangkok he was hit by a car and was on clutches.

            I would love to spend a several weeks on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Money is harder to make and it does not go as far as it use to. Maybe one day.

  9. avatar Immer Treue says:

    I’m with Dan and Jon on this one. I am truly sorry for theman’s death, but I think it is a rather frivolous suit. Just opens the door for more such legal actions and will go further in restriction of use by the general public.

    Again I am sorry for the man’s death, but it sounds as though Washing ton has a bigger goat than wolf problem, at least from what I gather from WM’s posting.

    • avatar Elk275 says:


      ++but it sounds as though Washing ton has a bigger goat than wolf problem++

      The State of Washington does not have a mountain goat problem, the National Park Service has a mountain goat problem. Why?

      Mountain goats were introduced into the area before the creation of ONP by the State of Washington. The goats are non native and have increased there population beyond the carrying capacity of the park and are NON NATIVE. What to do? If the park does not want the goats or wants the population culled, shoot them. Either the let the Park Service do it or have a lottery and allow hunters to shoot them the same as Theodore Roosevelt National Park does with elk. The reason there were introduce in the first place was to have mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula and provide additional hunting opportunity. Everything was find until the creation of Olympic National Park. The goats were designed to be controlled by hunting.

      I have heard hunting stories of years gone by of hunters be impaled in the leg from a wounded goat. I have never read of a person being killed by a mountain goat, there is a first for everything.

    • avatar WM says:


      I tend to be with you, as well. But the law seems to be changing.

      We discussed here earlier this Spring, an incident involving a Utah black bear that killed a kid a couple years back in an FS campground near American Fork. That case was tried to a federal judge, and I think he ruled along the lines that when an agency has knowledge of a specific animal doing bad things then fails to warn, for example to close down a campground, or to remove the animal, it creates a forseeable risk of injury to those who do not know of the specific danger.

      In that incident both the UT game department and the FS had knowledge and apparently did nothing, or not enough. The family of the child was awarded a fairly hefty judgment, even in light of what was contributory negligence of the parents who were under the influence of alcohol.

      This goat, according to sources cited in the newspaper back when the incident occurred early this Spring, had been aggressive for some time, so should probably have been removed long ago. It was probabaly just plain unlucky that the goat gored him lethally, in the femoral artery of the leg, if I remember correctly. He was a registered nurse, too. Some of my Port Angeles friends knew him very well, and were shocked by what happened – a mountain goat, really?

      As I have suggested before, I think people should take a class and sign away most of their rights when they go to a NP – even locals. That being said, the deterrent here is for government to assume some responsibility for your safety while on a federal reserve. And, if they do not take proper care, your federal or state tax dollar pays the claim.

  10. avatar jon says:

    I know this isn’t wildlife related, but why in the hell would anyone do this type of thing to a harmless dog?|mostview

    jack russell terriers are amazing dogs. We have some sick people in this world.

  11. avatar Immer Treue says:


    My point is with all the hubbub about the danger of wolves, it’s almost ironic that someone is killed by a Mt goat. If Washington brought them in,the goats, it’s also their problem, my opinion.

    This type of law suit does nothing more than open the door to any number of wrongful death suits in the NPS. In Denali, prior to going into the back country, we had to sit through a “bear class”. does OPN have to have a goat class?

    If they want to shoot the individual goat (if not already done)or cull the goat
    population, fine. Does everything need a warning label?

    Here is a question for the legal minds, WM? Is one more or less libel if they have a beware of dog sign posted and their dog bites someone? Would the sign be interpreted as a type of evidence that a dangerous animal resided at the residence? Once, while walking my dog in “suburbia” I was approached by an adult who asked if my dog bites. There seemed something odd about how the question was asked so I replied that you would have to do something pretty stupid, to which he replied like what? All I said after that was, well that’s a good start. How would the law interpret stupid?

    • avatar WM says:


      I don’t think I want to wade into the specific circumstances you encountered. The answers are probably pretty wide-ranging, depending on what a state legislature, county commission or city council has done in the way laws/regulations in the jurisdiction where this occurs. A general rule is that every dog gets on bite. After that the dog is known to bite and the rules change. Putting up a Beware of Dog sign which someone ignores raises the defense that the bitten person assumed the risk. But, what if it was a child, a senior with dementia, or a Hispanic who couldn’t read English?

      Then there is what a jury (or judge) as finder of fact might do interpreting the law given specific facts. That, of course, can yield different results based on the experiences and values of those making the decision.

      Some of us still hold out hope for the idea that you can’t fix stupid, and those who do stupid things should be held accountable for their acts. That is not always the case, however.

      Even with the same set of facts (maybe even the same statutory or common law base) you might just get different results in Ely, MN: San Francisco, CA; Greenwich, CT or Omak, WA.

      The federal government may even have different legal duties based on the type of reservation and where it is (NP, NF, BLM,FWS etc.) depending on how they administer a specific reserve.

      I have long contended that premise obligations and hence protective measures of the NP at Mesa Verde, with all its exposed drops, and wooden ladders, are inconsistent. Sometimes these idiots put big orange traffic cones, or pipe railings, in higher risk areas of Anisazi ruins in one spot, then fail to in other even more risky ones. Inconsistency in assessing and then responding to risk by mitigating is not a good thing, and a plaintiff lawyer will exploit that for good reason. “Why, Park Service employee, did you put a cone there, and not put one here, where the risk is even greater and where my client broke her leg?”

      There is another rule that has been eroded over the years. You can’t sue the federal government unless it says you can (a follow-on to our historical AngloSaxon jurisprudence that you cannot sue the King unless he says you can). Of course, our very liberal Congress fixed that. Maybe reversing that will help reduce the federal debt. LOL.

  12. avatar Immer Treue says:


    Thank you. Again, not to make lite of the goat goring, but how many instances in the NPS in particular and life in general do certain people look at any given situation, and look at the consequences of failure, while someone else looks at the same situation and says I can do it, and either does, or posthumously qualifies for a Darwin Award?

    I’m sure that most of us who post here have had that/those moments in life, where we chose the I can do it option and succeeded with certain degrees of success or not, but survived with the wisdom that I won’t attempt “that”‘again, or realized that we were just plain lucky to be alive.

    Some times it’s also just plain bad luck and being in the wrong placemat the wrong time.

    • avatar WM says:


      Before anyone gets the idea the man killed by the mountain goat was some kind of inexperienced nitwit with no backcountry experience, let’s look at the facts. This was a case of an experienced and smart person being in the wrong place by chance and trying to extract his friends and himself from harm.

      Your earlier suggestion that WA Fish and Wildlife should bear some responsibility is not quite correct. These goats were within a federal reserve where the exclusive duty to manage belongs to the feds- Olympic National Park administrators, a concept we have discussed here quite a bit. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in 1925 by private interests. ONP was created in 1938 (although a national monument including part was created in 1909). The Park Service has had a long history of trying to deal with them, including some hunting, and more recently darting and non-lethal removal which had PR problems with animal rights groups (you don’t want to know what I think about some meddling animal rights folks – maybe the wrongful death claim ought be paid by those assholes).

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      “……how many instances in the NPS in particular and life in general do certain people look at any given situation, and look at the consequences of failure, while someone else looks at the same situation and says I can do it, and either does, or posthumously qualifies for a Darwin Award? ”

      Speaking of which, one of the hikers bodies at Yosemite’s Angel falls was found.

      look for the upcoming lawsuit.

    • avatar WM says:


      A little more on the circumstances of the goring incident. There was no other way for these experienced hikers to extract themselves from the situation (nor did they voluntarily place themselves in it other than being in the Park at Klahane Ridge), it appears.

      The 1925 introduction of mountain goats to the Olympics, pre-dates the creation of Olympic National Park in 1938 (although part was a national monument by 1909). So, this is primarily a NP problem (with technical assistance from WA Fish & Wildlife, which has goats to manage outside the NP). Management of this introduced species, and its negative impacts to the Park, has received alot attention over the years.

      I have never had an incident with a goat, but three years ago I did have a big billy follow me for part of a day while on a 70 mile, mostly cross-country alpine, trek within ONP. It was rainy, and very foggy. We had just crossed what is called the Catwalk, a narrow knife edge rock ledge with steep drops on either side. He just mysteriously appeared periodically out of the fog at a distance of about 50-75 feet on a steep side hill just below us. He was there momentarily and disappeared, then my friend and I would hike another couple hundred yards, only to see him again for a few moments on the up hill side, sometimes in front and sometimes behind us. This ghostly game went on for quite awhile. It was a treasured experience.

    • avatar WM says:


      More on the mountain goat and the lawsuit. This goat had a long history of being a bad boy and the Park apparently did nothing, underestimating the risk posed. See the appended materials for this article including the Incident Report and the Goat Action Plan (both are very thorough).

      Three years ago I did a 70 mile mostly off maintained trail and cross country hike through the Olypmics alpine area. It was very foggy and rainy for a good portion of the trip. We had a large billy that mysteriously appeared out of the fog at a distance of about 50 feet, first below our path. He then disappeared in the fog, only to become visible above us, then behind us, then in front, for the better part of an hour as we slowly worked our way along a side hill. My hiking partner and I never felt threatened (I can’t say I ever had a bad experience with a goat, though they can be very curious and will eat your gear given a chance- socks and wash cothes are favorite). An all, however, the tracking by the ghost goat was a wonderful experience I will remember for a long time.

  13. avatar JEFF E says:

    NP Morning Report 8 aug 2011
    Hiker Injured By Grizzly Bear

    A hiker on the trail from Many Glacier to Piegan Pass was attacked by a grizzly bear around noon on Friday. The 50-year-old visitor from St. Paul, Minnesota, was hiking by himself when he rounded a bend in the trail and encountered a sow grizzly with a sub-adult grizzly. Although he was carrying bear spray, he was unable to utilize it before the bear attacked. He sustained bites to his left thigh and left forearm before the bear grabbed his foot, shook him, released him, and left the area. The man hiked back toward Many Glacier, encountering a naturalist ranger leading a hike while on the way. The ranger notified dispatch while the man continued to the Many Glacier Ranger Station, where he was treated for his injuries and transported to the Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning. The hiker was reportedly making noise as he hiked. The trail from Piegan Pass to Feather Plum Falls is closed at this time, and rangers are investigating the incident.
    [Submitted by Denise Germann, Public Affairs Specialist]

  14. avatar ma'iingan says:

    The latest wrinkle in eastern U.S. wolf genetics. You folks in the NRM have it easy! The paper is presented here in (relatively) lay terms – it’s been peer-reviewed but I’m not sure it’s been published yet. Basically, it casts doubt on C. rufus as an actual species, and the differentiation of C. lupus and C. lycaon. There’s already a firestorm of rebuttals and denials from people who have based their careers on mtDNA analysis. And this will no doubt provide fodder for another anti-delisting lawsuit in the WGL.

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      It is an interesting debate and it will be interesting to see how it is resolved over time. However, I am unsure I see why it should derail delisting of Great Lakes wolves, whether they have some genes from an actual distinct eastern wolf or just western coyote (if no lycaon exists as Kays asserts). Either way, nobody seems to dispute that they are somewhat of a hybrid with something, just whether wolves in a limited area of Canada (Algonquin – not within the Great Lakes ESU) represent an evolutionarily distinct wolf from the gray wolf or just a different mix of gray wolf and coyote ancestors? The rebuttal to Kays seems to rest in substantial part on lack of evidence that gray wolves and coyotes currently interbreed and on questions about the origin and representativeness of the sample of only 2 animals from the Algonquin region which others have concluded still holds a distinct eastern wolf. I like his graphics (although someone red-green color blind would likely be less impressed).

      • avatar ma'iingan says:

        The difficulty this could pose for WGL delisting is tied to the USFWS latest presentation in the Federal Register – claiming C. lupus and C. lycaon as separate and distinct species. The expectation is that the CBD will use this as a foundation for a lawsuit – based on the uncertainty of “what animal are we talking about here”?

        • avatar WM says:

          Who is that I see walking akwardly down the hallway to the US House of Representatives Bill Room? Could it be? Yes, yes. It’s wild-eyed MN Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. The folder in her right hand says, “GL wolf rider bill.” She mutters, “It’s time to end all this foolishness.” As the reporter looks closer, the legs seem a little heavier than in her photographs, and that walk – wwwwhhhhooooaaaa – I’ve heard that voice before. Why, why it’s Senator Al Franken posing as Rep. Bachmann?

          The reporter approaches cautiously, microphone thrust forward, with cameraman close behind, and asks, “Excuse me, Senator, what are you doing?”

          Michele, er, Senator Franken looks over his shoulder and quietly says in a whisper, but in a much higher pitched whine than the reporter remembers as being Al’s, “You see I gotta keep the promises I made to the MN Democratic Farmer Labor Party that got me elected, but I don’t want the heat from the D’s, if you know what I mean. These wolves are eating me alive man, politically speaking anyway. Now somebody wants not one, but two, different kinds of wolves in the Great Lakes on the ESA. How dumb is that? Geez, don’t they get it. This crap can’t go on forever. Michele wouldn’t mind. I know she’d do this on her own, but she’s still scrapping with that photographer that took that photo of her that’s on the front page of Newsweek. You see, that pic, man? She looks like a cat with somebody dangling a treat over her head.”

          The reporter continues the query, “Senator, do realize how ridiculous you look? It’s not just the voice, sir, but you have hairy legs, and its showing through, uugghh, your nylons. You’ll never get away with this.”

          Senator Frank says, “Watch me! I’ve done worse things. Say, would you like me to draw you a freehand map of the United States with each state in proper location and proportion while we wait? These wolves need to off the ESA, so my turkey farmers and deer hunters can get back to business.”

          The camera pans back, and a familiar voice says, “LIVE FROM THE NATION’S CAPITOL, IT”S SATURDAYYYYYY NIGHT! With special guest star Al Franken, and your host is Ken Salazarrrrrrr, Secretary of the United States Department of Interior!”

          (I thought that reporter looked familiar.)

        • avatar WM says:

          The sad part, ma’iingan, is Senator Franken is very much behind GL wolf delisting, critical of the litigation which has delayed it, AND apparently skeptical of the implications of the developing two species issue which now may overshadow it.

          So, in short, my satirical comment (everybody gets skewered) is pretty much on point. Bachmann signed the letter, too along with some other MN R’s and D’s.

          From Senator Franken’s website –

  15. avatar mad says:

    In regard to the historical Eastern wolf that Paul Wilson, et al, has studied genetically for the last decade, I’m not totally convinced on this new paper yet. I’d like to see Paul’s response b/c his research showed very little to no coyote genetic material from very old museum samples, as well as some portions of the current Algonquin populations, not all. The genetic history of the Red wolf and Eastern wolf are closely intertwined, but have significant differences from the western coyote and the Gray wolf from the Great Lakes area and Northwest Rockies (US & Canada). So, I’m not sure where this new paper and info fits in. It will be interesting to see how others interpret their analysis as it goes thru the peer review process. Obviously, no one’s research and hypotheses are perfect and either party could be mistaken on certain points, we’ll just have to see how this plays out

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      I don’t know that this subject will ever be settled, at least to the satisfaction of the scientists. Papers from mtDNA researchers and microsatellite researchers were presented at the same conference, as well as plenty of morphological references. The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion, which was a little awkward – there was a good bit of professional tension in the air, as one might expect.

      One interesting hypothesis was brought up for discussion – that some of the alleles of extinct NA wolves might only be present in modern-day coyotes, since they’ve never been extirpated across wide areas, as wolves have. Now there’s some food for thought.

  16. avatar mad says:

    …and to be honest I’m not a big fan of Roland Kays and his protege Dan Bogan; but that’s really more on a personal level after dealing with them in the past.

  17. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Brodie Farquhar has posted an even-handed analysis at NewWest on the semantic ( and literal ? ) difference between Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s take and the Department of interior’s stance on the recently negotiated Wyoming wolf deal. Are we talking the same plan here ? Depends.

    ” Wyoming declares war on wolves ”

  18. avatar Frank Renn says:

    I have been around hippos and crocs in both Uganda and Tanzania,Have a good guide and trust his judgment. Chuck Trost and I were in Corbett National park in N. India in March, two individuals were killed by tigers when we were there. As they were alone and in remote areas, the blame was not placed on the tiger. One tiger was destroyed a few months before, but only after it had been confirmed to have killed six humans. On another subject check out last weeks U.S. court of appeals decision on the national elk refuge

  19. avatar JB says:

    New publication in Wildlife Monographs indicates the control of predators (coyotes and mountain lions) has little effect on mule deer populations.

    Link to abstract:


    Manipulating predator populations is often posed as a solution to depressed ungulate populations. However, predator–prey dynamics are complex and the effect on prey populations is often an interaction of predator life history, climate, prey density, and habitat quality. The effect of predator removal on ungulate and, more specifically, mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations has not been adequately investigated at a management scale. We tested the efficacy of removing coyotes (Canis latrans) and mountain lions (Puma concolor) for increasing survival and population growth rate of mule deer in southeastern Idaho, USA, during 1997–2003. We assigned 8 game management units (GMUs) to treatments under a 2 × 2 factorial design (treatments of coyote removal and lion removal) with 2 replicates of each treatment or reference area combination. We used methods typically available to wildlife managers to achieve predator removals and a combination of extensive and intensive monitoring in these 8 GMUs to test the hypothesis that predator removal increased vital rates and population growth rate of mule deer. We determined effects of predator removal on survival and causes of mortality in 2 intensive study sites, one with coyote and mountain lion removal and one without. We also considered the effects of other variables on survival including lagomorph abundance and climatic conditions. In these 2 intensive study areas, we monitored with radiotelemetry 250 neonates, 284 6-month-old fawns, and 521 adult females. At the extensive scale, we monitored mule deer population trend and December fawn ratios with helicopter surveys. Coyote removal decreased neonate mortality only when deer were apparently needed as alternate prey, thus removal was more effective when lagomorph populations were reduced. The best mortality model of mule deer captured at 6 months of age included summer precipitation, winter precipitation, fawn mass, and mountain lion removal. Over-winter mortality of adult female mule deer decreased with removal of mountain lions. Precipitation variables were included in most competing mortality models for all age classes of mule deer. Mountain lion removal increased fawn ratios and our models predicted fawn ratios would increase 6% at average removal rates (3.53/1,000 km2) and 27% at maximum removal rates (14.18/1,000 km2). Across our extensive set of 8 GMUs, coyote removal had no effect on December fawn ratios. We also detected no strong effect of coyote or mountain lion removal alone on mule deer population trend; the best population-growth-rate model included previous year’s mountain lion removal and winter severity, yet explained only 27% of the variance in population growth rate. Winter severity in the current and previous winter was the most important influence on mule deer population growth. The lack of response in fawn ratio or mule deer abundance to coyote reduction at this extensive (landscape) scale suggests that decreased neonate mortality due to coyote removal is partially compensatory. Annual removal of coyotes was not an effective method to increase mule deer populations in Idaho because coyote removal increased radiocollared neonate fawn survival only under particular combinations of prey densities and weather conditions, and the increase did not result in population growth. Coyote-removal programs targeted in areas where mortality of mule deer fawns is known to be additive and coyote-removal conditions are successful may influence mule deer population vital rates but likely will not change direction of population trend. Although mountain lion removal increased mule-deer survival and fawn ratios, we were unable to demonstrate significant changes in population trend with mountain lion removal. In conclusion, benefits of predator removal appear to be marginal and short term in southeastern Idaho and likely will not appreciably change long-term dynamics of mule deer populations in the intermountain west. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

  20. avatar Nota says:

    Vital Ground Foundation buys land for grizzly migration corridor:

  21. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    A ranch mare was apparently killed by a Grizzly on a private family ranch retreat SW of Cody this week ; in a pen with her colt and a gelding who were not harmed. The griz will not be trapped.

    Story in tonight’s Cody Enterprise newspaper.

    The very last sentence has a seldom heard comment , with some resonance…

  22. avatar Patrick says:

    This is a story about a coyote seen on an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

    People are very concerned about the effect this will have on the deer population on the island. You have to understand, the deer population is so large that there is no limit to the number you can take during hunting season, buck or doe. There is also a ridiculously large skunk population. I’ve been telling my friends that live on the island for years that they need some coyotes, but they get very upset whenever I brink it up.

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      The comments are hilarious – and frightening, all at the same time. Coyotes make sounds that lure small children into the woods?

  23. avatar SEAK Mossback says:

    Even as wolves are being removed from the ESA in much of the Lower 48, a new petition has been submitted to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf:

  24. avatar jburnham says:

    Bitterroot elk calves survive at higher rate than Idaho counterparts, study says

  25. avatar Kropotkin Man says:

    In the wrong place at the wrong time. Another dead lion: as always check out the comments.

  26. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Here’s a comment that was blocked last week that I feel a need to respond to.

    It comes from one of our favorite anti-wolf crusaders Bruce Hemming in response to the post “Running over a wolf with a snowmobile? You’ll be able to do that in Wyoming if the new deal between the Feds and Wyoming becomes final.

    Bruce says:

    Maybe you crazy wolf cult people would consider helping to feed children. I know it is hard for the wild eye evil anti humans in the wolf cult to care about children. You only know how to do one thing worship the wolves. But here is the link just in case you do care about children..

    Ken you must stay up all night to come up with your waste of an article. Bunch of nonsense bordering on insane ranting.

    Here’s my less than eloquent response to his less than eloquent accusation that I and other wolf advocates don’t care about people:

    Bruce, Suck it.

    I’ll have you know that I don’t worship wolves and that I do many other things outside of my job as NEPA Coordinator for WWP. I’ll also have you know that I took the lead in organizing a benefit last year that raised $9000 for Haiti relief after the devastating earthquake there. My friends from the band Built to Spill asked me to make all of the arrangements for this benefit which sold out the 700 seat Egyptian Theatre in Boise, Idaho. If you want to relieve suffering maybe you should direct your efforts to people who are really suffering rather than those ranchers and outfitters who suck on the public teet at the expense of a healthy landscape and the American taxpayer.

    No vile hate-filled messaging required.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      pencil neck Hemming

      nough said.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Been part to this argument in terms of education. Too much money spent on wolves, then they lay off teachers. But then, I’m a teacher, and I’m breaking the system with my so called entitlements. When bringing up two unfunded wars, and comparing the money spent on wolves as chump change in the scheme of things, I’m told two wrongs don’t make a right.

      Before you know it you’ll get that sort of philosophical bent, What will happen if Pinnochio says my nose will grow, but it doesn’t in terms of wolves, the money spent on wolves, and the supposed damage(not all imagined) for which they are responsible.

  27. I am about four days late in reading and responding to previous comments about the mountain goat goring a hiker.
    The mountain goat was obviously looking for a handout of food. He approached the group while they were eating lunch and threatened them. He was saying “Give me a sandwich or else”. He gave them
    “or else”.
    I had a similar conflict with a bighorn ram while eating a sandwich along the highline trail in Glacier NP and resolved it by hitting the ram between the eyes with a softball sized rock. The ram had smacked the rock I was sitting on with enough force to have shattered my knee if he had hit it,when I refused to share my meal. I hit him hard enough from a distance of about three feet that it momentarily stunned him and he left me alone after that.
    If I had hit a mountain goat the same way, I would probably have killed it. They have a thin un-armored skull.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Larry – like the early days of Yellowstone – handouts of food to bears from cars (bear jams) and campsites – is Glaacier now experiencing the same kind of tourist ignorance when it comes to wildlife? “Oh, look at the chipmunk (goat, sheep) isn’t it cute and coming so close!! Honey, grabe the camera!”

  28. avatar Nancy says:

    Glaacier as in Glacier and grabe, as in grab……Yeah, obviously a long day in the “trenches” 🙂

  29. avatar Nancy says:

    That’s interesting Jon, I wasn’t getting that impression from the local TV station’s take on the sale of wolf tags so far.

  30. avatar JEFF E says:

    “We have missions that we’re on to promote justice and to promote environmental compliance and to make sure our air is clean to breathe and our water is clean to drink and our soil is safe to grow things in and to play in for kids. It’s a big deal.”

    and yet this is exactly what the repugnant, including Idaho’s scum sucking Simpson et alia are trying desperately to do away with.

    • avatar JB says:

      Yes. I heard some sound clips on NPR from Iowa yesterday where Reps. have been stumping for the Iowa straw poll. A number of candidates are blaming our economic woes on “over regulation”. Never mind that regulation and regulatory agencies have been in decline since Reagan. Heck, nearly all our environmental laws were passed during the 60s and 70s. But lets not let the facts get in the way of a good political rant.

  31. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    A long story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle ( Cheyenne ) about Mule Deer populations crashing across southern Wyoming and northern Colorado, but also elsewhere in the state.

    A variety of possible causes are cited , all having to do with changing habitat , but the primary culprit seems to be rampant energy development. It’s heresy to come right out and say that in Wyoming, but it’s becoming more obvious with each passing week that drilling is definitely not good for wildlife.

  32. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    “The Texas jobs myth: Gov. Rick Perry is no miracle worker”

    So according to Krugman, liberal zoning (increased supply of housing), increased birth rates, and increased immigration are all keys to economic stability.

    Being an conservationist, these types of articles depress me more than any other.

  33. avatar Elk275 says:

    It hope that the future generations will be able to enjoy the same type of trout fishing that I have enjoyed, but there seens to be some black clouds on the horizon.

  34. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    70.4 percent of Americans would pay to go on an African safari to view lions, whereas only 6.6 percent of Americans would pay to hunt lions.

    • avatar jon says:

      I’m not surprised by this at all. Trophy hunters represent a very tiny minority. I’m hoping sometime in the near future, trophy hunting of african lions will be banned for good.

  35. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    2011 Known and Probable Grizzly Bear Mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

  36. avatar JB says:

    Congressional approval rating ties an all-time low (13%) after S&P lowers the U.S.’s debt rating. Seems the Tea Party’s strategy may have backfired…

    • avatar Salle says:

      Or maybe that’s just what the funders of the teabaggers has had in mind all along. Destroy the standard of living of the working class such that they have nothing to fight for or with and to shift the power of the planetary operations to a less volatile environment… even if that means a seriously degraded society in the US. To the wealthy powers it seems the americans are just too uppity of late what with demanding all those costly regulations and the like… Austerity, it’s for everyone – or so they tell you.

    • avatar WM says:

      One would like to think Congress will respond to this lack of confidence, by making positive changes. The problem is that that the D’s, Independents, R’s and R Tea Party wackos all have a different version of where the Country should be heading. Does this mean even more entrenchment by the righteous , or is it a precursor for solving problems cooperatively?

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Thanks JB,

      Congress is at a record low and the rating of political parties is very low too, especially when Republicans rate Democrats and vice versa. The President is now at his lowest point. Other Presidents have been lower, however, The leading Republican candidates will still lose to him because they are perceived as so unacceptable by the electorate at large (though the Tea Party likes some of them). Democracy is truly at a low ebb in the United States — unpopular institutions, political leaders, or would be leaders, and nothing on the horizon that would change things people can vote for or work for.

  37. avatar Guepardo Lento says:

    While not North American wildlife, here’s an article reporting on study results of poaching of wolves in Sweden (yes, socially liberal Sweden):

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      good post Guepardo.
      a link from the story. My, old Lupus Lupus does not look any different than lupus whateverus in the good ol USA

    • avatar Maska says:

      This is a very interesting study. It may shed some light on the probable fates of a number of the approximately 50 collared Mexican gray wolves listed as “lost to follow up” since 1998. A number of these disappearances appear to have been suspicious, most notably two cases in which two collared wolves went missing from the same approximate location at the same time.

      • avatar willam huard says:

        There is a conspiracy between outfitters, ranchers, and probably FG employees to eradicate the Mexican Gray wolf in NM and AZ. They probably have a large mass grave where all these wolves can be found. I pray that at least one person has the decency and conscience to come forward ( even if it’s for the reward money)and blow the whole operation up

  38. avatar willam huard says:

    WTT Chandie could tell you the name of the Swedish wolf. The Swedish wolf resembles the small Idaho “timberwolf” that caused no problems but was still shot on sight by the locals

  39. avatar ma'iingan says:

    Estimating gray wolf pack size and family relationships using noninvasive genetic sampling at rendezvous sites
    Author(s) :Jennifer L. Stenglein, Lisette P. Waits, David E. Ausband, Peter Zager, and Curt M. Mack
    Source: Journal of Mammalogy, 92(4):784-795. 2011.
    Published By: American Society of Mammalogists

    Available on – the results suggest that inbreeding and multiple litters may be much more common than we think, among wolves that are not constrained by features of geography.

    • avatar JB says:


    • avatar WM says:

      Is this research of Ausband that WWP funds, in part?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:


        No it wasn’t. The Wolf Recovery Foundation, however, of which I am President, made a major contribution. We have spent a large portion of our budget in recent years funding research into the non-invasive handling of animals, especially wolves, where radio collars have been used in the past for census and other purposes, such as this.

  40. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    “Euthanizing” a bobcat the Texan way:
    And what a dangerous looking cat it was!

    • avatar JB says:


      FYI: A shot to the head meets with the American Veterinary Association’s guidelines for euthanasia. Not pretty by any means, but it is currently an acceptable form of euthanasia.

      Personally, I would place the blame (if there is any to be placed) on the woman who made the call. Bobcats are roughly the same size as domestic cats and not really a danger to anything accept small mammals and song birds.

      • avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

        Different languages, different cultures Here in Germany, Euthanasia or in German “einschläfern” (putting to sleep) means the soft and painfree killing of a suffering animal, definitely not involving a gun. Ok, I forgot, you are in the US…. 🙂

        • avatar willam huard says:

          You seem mystified and shocked that we treat animals this way in the US. Don’t be….We have a long history of treating animals like sh*&.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:


          I think “euthanasia” means the same thing in Germany as in the United States. The problem here is that many wildlife agencies lie when they say they “euthanized” an animal. They assume the public will ask nothing further.

      • avatar Ryan says:


        The bobcats death could not have been quicker or pain free. IMHO, much less invasive than the needle and associates handling.

        • avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

          Yes, you could be right. The whole thing reminds me on a scene in one of those old Police Academy movies: “Officer, could you please help my cat down from that tree?” Yes, Ma´am, of course BOOOOOM!

    • avatar willam huard says:

      I think the point is why did the officer shoot the bobcat? We all know that Texas doesn’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to wildlife….The story said that there was a wildlife rehabilitation clinic nearby in Wylie that “would have gladly come to take the animal”. Poorly trained officer that couldn’t really be bothered, so he took the easy way out.

      • avatar JB says:


        A few years ago a wildlife officer in Utah nearly lost his job for doing the same thing to a black bear cub. Turns out, he was following the proper protocol. There were no zoos or rehabilitation centers that were taking bears, and a cub left for more than 24 hours was assumed to be “abandoned”. Protocol said to euthanize the bear and he did. Problem was, he did it in front of a park full of people (including some kids). My guess is this guy was doing the same thing.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:


          Might this not occur or, perhaps not, with people “viewing”wolves once the “season” begins.

          I remember the you tube video from Wisconsin last Autumn as a doctor and his son were, I believe, in tree stands and they filmed a pack of thirteen wolves. The pups were just playing and chasing each other and the adults were just standing around. A team bent on wolf elimination could have put a serious dent in the population in that particular area.

        • avatar Howl Basin says:

          Several years ago, an Idaho USFS LEO shot a black bear cub at one of the most popular mountain lake campgrounds in the state. She used a handgun and shot again and again, while families with kids watched. Not a word in the media. Just another dead bear. A call to IDFG was meant with “what’s the big deal” – like families should expect this?

      • avatar WM says:

        Some here will recall an incident of a young cougar hanging out at a local Safeway store in Lewiston, ID.

        For all the crap that IDFG takes from this crew, I think they a pretty decent job of handling the matter. Tranquilizer dart first, then shooting the animal out of sight if the public, and telling the public what they did and why. I don’t even know if they could have disposed of the animal with a lethal drug injection. Sad ending for the cougar, but it did not appear the Division wanted to deal with what would likely have been a problem animal had they turned it lose somewhere. Unfortunate, but it happens.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Guess the big question ought to be “Unfortunate for whom/who” WM?

          I have a neighbor (use that term loosely) who has cats, didn’t want them in the house because afterall, they were “mousers” performing a much needed job around the place.

          They would feed them outside, a distance from their home til…… the local skunk population got wind of the banquet. Their solution was to live trap the skunks and leave them in the traps til they died.

          And then I had this other neighbor (again, a loose term) who would also live trap skunks (same reason – the outside cats – mousers – gotta eat) and damn those skunks!

          He’d pick up the live trap (skunk inside) with the arm of his nifty little yard tractor and haul the skunk down to the pond on his property and hold it under water til it died. No mess to have to deal with was his reason.

          The words cruel, inhumane AND sadistic come to mind… and it comes to mind everytime I see sorry excuses (like the death of that bobcat in Texas) as to why the human species is not more sympathetic, and a hell of a lot more understanding of what we’ve done and continue to do, to what was once THEIR habitat.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            The two instances (Texas bobcat) and Idaho(mountain lion)have something in common. These “humans” did not want to deal with the animals and made no effort to relocate the animals to a rehab or a safer location. It’s just laziness…. As WM stated
            “Sad ending for the cougar, but itdid not appear the Div wanted to deal with what would likely have been a problem animal had they turned it loose somewhere” Gee WM- how can you make that assumption that the cougar would have likely been a problem animal? Sixth sense maybe? Don’t they give male grizzlies one strike and then if it gets in trouble again they make a decision to euthanize?

          • avatar WM says:


            ++Gee WM- how can you make that assumption that the cougar would have likely been a problem animal? Sixth sense maybe? ++

            Don’t pin that assumption on me. That was the logic of IDFG as stated in the articles chronicling the incident. Different place, different values, different concerns.

            A somewhat similar event some of us remember was another cougar incident in Seattle, about two years ago. A young cat that made its way into Discovery Park, a large forested area, in the middle of the city (really). It came by way of a railroad right of way along Puget Sound to the north, apparently, crossed the mouth of the river that drains Lake Washington on the RR drawbridge.

            It fed on dogs and cats adjacent to the 600 acre Park for a few days, and was spotted by runners/hikers (I used to run/walk the trails there), and did not appear afraid of humans. WA Fish & Wildlife treed, tranqued, collared and turned it loose far away. Haven’t followed its history since. That was probably a fairly expensive response, but it appears successful, as I have not heard anything else bad about it.

            Good pics of the capture here.


            But contrast that to about a half dozen black bears that were fed dog food by some idiot out near Ocean Shores on the southwest WA coast. WA wildlife officials had to kill all of them, but don’t recall ever hearing how they were “euthanized.”

            I think most agencies try to think things through before choosing the lethal path. Texas is, of course, an exception in alot areas.

          • avatar JB says:


            Remember the young boy who was killed by a nuisance bear that was NOT moved a few years ago in Utah? The result: the government was out something ~2million USD for that incident (a decision, btw, that I don’t agree with).

            Now imagine you’re the one who has to make the decision about a young cougar whose grown used to living near people? What do think will happen when you move that animal to a new territory (likely already occupied, but who knows, cougars are elusive after all)?

            I’m sure they are aware that some people will scream every time an animal is killed; however, personally I would rather have a dead cougar on my conscious than a dead child. I know you emphathize with the animals, but please try just one time to empathize with the person who makes the decision. [They are not all sadistic killers]

          • avatar Harley says:

            Again well said JB

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Nancy – “whom/who?” ; “…sorry excuses … as to why the human species is not more sympathetic, and a hell of a lot more understanding of what we’ve done and continue to do, to what was once THEIR habitat.”
          Quick comment on the obvious. In these instances the animals that were “euthanized” were not “whom or who”, i.e. persons. The policies that guided the euthanizing/killing of those animals ARE designed to protect members of the local communities – the “whom’s/ who’s/persons”. The habitat and the wildlife resource supported by that habitat are a resource of society, managed for the benefit of society, with the first consideration being the physical safety of humans – in these instances, in urban communities.

          William – Those policies are similar from state to state. The Idaho policy of not relocating a large carnivore (lion, bear e.g.) that has been habituated to humans or urban environments is based on experiences and precedents like the Utah tradgedy JB refered to. The risk, however slight, that the animal could return (not uncommon) or encounter humans in it’s new setting and cause a human injury or death, outweighs the benefit to society of returning that animal to natural habitat. It is almost always the case that these animals are looking for new habitat because the animal was/is effectively “excess” to the population it came from. In that regard, there is no concern for population viability, the other priority resource consideration.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            Oh I get it now, these animals are EXCESS animals…..another sweeping assumption with absolutely no proof behind it

          • avatar jon says:

            does being “excess” animals mean their lives are less important? Human ignorance at its finest.

          • avatar jb says:

            What Mark means by “excess” is their location is sub-prime habitat. Geographically, places with people are often population sinks for large carnivores. Cougars that reside in these areas are often young males that have been pushed out of better habitat by larger males, and are forced to live on what they find–which can include people’s pets.

            A few years back one such animal killed a young man who was running along a trail in Colorado.

          • avatar WM says:


            ++Human ignorance at its finest…..++

            Ya just might want to look in the mirror and mouth those words silently to yourself.

            Other young male cougars pushed to marginal territories at the fringe of human civilization, in recent years, have attacked but not killed mountain bikers and runners in the area east of Seattle (Issaquah and Bothell, if I recall correctly).

            Similar events are recorded on Vancouver Island, BC. Go up there and there are signs everywhere to be on the alert for cougars as they constantly test the boundaries with humans, and I recall a pre-school or elementary school that became an area of interest for a cougar up there just a few months back.

      • avatar jon says:

        I don’t believe that killing the bobcat was the only solution. That is a copout. Killing is the easiest solution. Humane death or not, it didn’t need to be killed in the first place. The way some humans treat wild animals, it’s no surprise that some people fight hard for animals and how they are treated.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          jon, William –
          I don’t think there is a more honest or responsible way to explain these policies than to say AGAIN – wildlife management must be, will always be focused at the population level. Individual animals clearly are important to both of you and to others. You are free to exercise your personal choices, behavior, etc. to be consistent with your principles. Society will continue to regulate the treatment of animals consistent with social values and norms. These policies for the disposition of wild animals posing real or potential threats to human safety or property are a balance of those biological and social “needs”. Killing the Texas bobcat and the Idaho lion weren’t the only option, but those actions were determined to be the most responsible for all factors of each situation. It is the uncomfortable reality for you and others that wildlife management will always include necessary removal/euthanizing/killing of individual animals, just as that occurs every minute of every day in nature.

          • avatar Harley says:

            Mark, I think perhaps you are wasting your breath with some people. I remember the HUGE uproar when a cougar wandered it’s way into Chicago and was shit by the Chicago police. While it was a huge shame that a young healthy male cougar had to be shot, on the other hand, I believe without any reservations that the police acted in the best way they knew how.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            Lookee here- another IDFG apologist

        • avatar WM says:

          william and jon,

          I pose the same question to you that was offered to Chicago Mike some months back. Put yourself in the position of a higher level administrator in a wildlife agency (with field staff seeking your immediate guidance for a response). Assume you must stay within the budget the legislature and your other funding sources allow for your many areas of responsibility.

          What would be your policy on dealing with urban fringe wildlife conflicts that potentially create public safety issues (kids in school yards, runners, campers), and the political heat that comes from the family dog/cat/horse or other pet that gets eaten or run into a fence?

          You have a couple hours (maybe less) to decide an individual potentially dangerous animal’s fate while it is at large or maybe in a live trap.

          Come on, lay out your plan. And as a final cautionary note, do remember, if you screw it up people can be injured or die, and maybe some family pets will die. YOUR bosses won’t be happy if that happens, and you might even create additional $$$ liability for a legal claim.

          The clock is ticking.

          • avatar jb says:

            I will complicate your deliberations by noting that some states forbid moving wild animals that are potentially dangerous. In my state, skunks and raccoons live trapped must be killed or released on site due to the possible transmission of rabies.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            I can understand the Idaho mountain lion situation because mountain lions have been known to attack and kill humans. The Texas bobcat scenario is another story however. There is no way to justify the killing of that bobcat. There are physical and behavior differences (that I’m sure that police officer did not have the wherewithall or sense to detect)if there was a rabies infected bobcat, which would have been the only situation where a bobcat would attack a human……They are even more shy than coyotes….This was a lazy act committed by an untrained police officer with respect to a wildlife issue…..Probably the state had cut back services( we all have read where whole police forces were laid off due to budget issues in Texas). All too often wildlife is judged as disposable, when a simple phone call to the wildlife shelter could have solved the issue- that is my point. Anyone who takes his or her job seriously should have the information available to them to make more informed decisions rather than just taking the easy way out and shooting the animal.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            The officer had a choice…..I have personally helped owls, hawks, snapping turtles etc over the years. I made the choice to drive the 20 miles to the wildlife rehab center….it was my choice.

  41. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    “Bashing EPA Is New Theme in GOP Race”

    It’s almost as if some republicans are competing with each other to prove who can grovel the lowest before big business.

    There are numerous steps they could take to encourage growth in small/medium size businesses without sacrificing the environment (Not necessarily through government spending, either), but apparently the only folks they think about are the ones handing over those $20,000 checks at the next big fundraiser.

    How convenient it would be if destroying the environment would solve all of our economic problems. Too bad it’s a complete crock of shit.

  42. avatar jdubya says:

    Science 19 August 2011:
    Vol. 333 no. 6045 pp. 1024-1026

    The distributions of many terrestrial organisms are currently shifting in latitude or elevation in response to changing climate. Using a meta-analysis, we estimated that the distributions of species have recently shifted to higher elevations at a median rate of 11.0 meters per decade, and to higher latitudes at a median rate of 16.9 kilometers per decade. These rates are approximately two and three times faster than previously reported. The distances moved by species are greatest in studies showing the highest levels of warming, with average latitudinal shifts being generally sufficient to track temperature changes. However, individual species vary greatly in their rates of change, suggesting that the range shift of each species depends on multiple internal species traits and external drivers of change. Rapid average shifts derive from a wide diversity of responses by individual species.

    What this is tells us is that critters with 4 legs and the ability can move with the shift in temperature, while those more sedentary, stuck on a hill top or within a stream or river are in trouble.

  43. avatar Salle says:

    Crews finally yank toilet paper rolls from river

    LEWISTON, Idaho — State officials say cleanup crews are finally done removing massive rolls of unprocessed toilet paper that spilled off a truck and were lodged for weeks in the upper Lochsa River.

  44. avatar Phil says:

    Lion cub that can be the symbol of heart and determination. What a great story of Junior!

  45. avatar jon says:

    I saw this on nat geo I believe it was. Watching it was extremely heartbreaking.

    • avatar Phil says:

      It definitely was heartbreaking. Species instincts can be their misfortunes. Sad ending, but can be a form of role-model to people with some kind of disability.

    • avatar Phil says:

      It would be great to see more groups like this one coming along in defense of predators that are killed in a useless manner. Some people can say what they want on the “need” to hunt and manage predators, and even herbivores to some extent, but it is nothing more than opinionated individuals not confined to the knowledge of realism in wildlife.

    • avatar willam huard says:

      Velez- Mitchell is very pro-wildlife. This boycott of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana would have been more effective if it could have been coordinated right after the delisting before the states started planning the wolf extermination hunt. Interesting how the DOI and Salazar had no comment……

      • avatar jon says:

        Some anti wolfer sent her a letter. recognize the name of the anti-wolfer?

        • avatar willam huard says:

          People should just ignore him. CNN the other night had Christine O donnell on. Why would an un-elected lunatic be given time on a national news program…..What does she have to offer- like Bridges, his blog is so full of inaccuracies where do you start to refute it all?

  46. avatar jon says:

    “Niemeyer tempers Stone’s reservations, saying the new hunting regulations will hardly be enough to put a dent in the wolf population. As a 40-year taxidermist, he knows pelt quality will be poor until November. Having spent 30 years darting and trapping wolves as a federal management specialist, he believes most of the hunting harvest will likely be pups and yearlings, which are less canny.”

    and who was saying that hunters are very unlike to kill pups?

    • avatar willam huard says:

      Mark Gamblin’s response- Coexistence? We get paid to 1-hunt em,2- trap em,3- kill em-4- put out the IDFG talking points….. hunt em, trap em, kill em- put out the IDFG talking points.

      Repeat steps 1-4

      • avatar jon says:

        Mark wants to keep his job at the IDFG. He’s like being told what to say on here William.

        • avatar Salle says:

          Careful guys, he might be like Beetlejuice… say it enough times and he shows up. (You have to remember to put him back when he does come out.) ;-]

      • avatar jon says:

        Mark was saying that he thinks it’s very unlikely hunters will kill pups. Carter Niemeyer believes that most wolves killed will be yearlings and pups. It’s only a matter of time before you see an Idaho wolf hunter grinning on the front page of the newspaper while standing over the dead wolf pup that he “harvested”.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          You make a good point. In earlier threads, all the way back to 2009, I emphasized the same point. Most wolves harvested/killed/taken by hunters will be young, inexperienced animals – generally yearlings. My reference to “pups” in this most recent thread refers to the images you and others were describing of hunters shooting un-weaned, extremely young and defenseless pups – an entirely different scenario than what Carter Niemeyer referred to.

          • avatar Howl Basin says:

            Like the little yearling female wolf that was killed by Robert Millage on Sept 1, 2009. A photo of him and his wolf subadult “trophy” is featured in IDFG’s June 2011 Newsletter.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Howl Basin,
          Yes. That wolf, approximatley 50 lbs in weight and actively participating in her pack activity, will be typical for hunter harvest/kill/take in the 2011-2012 and subsequent wolf hunting seasons. Younger, naive wolves will be much more susceptible to hunters than a wolf who has been exposed to just one wolf hunting season. That is just one reason why wolf hunting success/efficiency is especially low and poses no threat to a sustained, viable wolf population.

  47. avatar ConnieJ says:

    “Amazing stories about the cognitive skills and emotional lives of other animals abound. Recently Chinese media has reported that a captive bear on a Chinese bear farm killed her son and then herself after she heard him cry out pain when a catheter was jammed into his abdomen . . .

    • avatar Phil says:

      It boggles my mind when I hear people say animals do not have emotions. We will never know, but I believe so, and stories like this one are evident of it.

      • avatar Salle says:

        A superiority-justifying claim and a total crock. Most living things have feelings, maybe not the same type of senses that we and other similar mammals have but they do have them. Otherwise, how would they know how to find sustenance and defend themselves through the means they have developed? Emotions are a more developed set of sense that humans claim is all their own but most who have spent any time among animals and or had them as pets can tell you differently. Some folks may apply added emotive value to their pets or favored species but they have emotions all the same, wild or domesticated. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t see the damage done to abused dogs or cats, for example, who show fear or apathy even after they have been rescued from their abusers.

    • avatar Daniel Berg says:

      Note to self: Buy an assortment of snake oils for re-sale and follow “Americans for Prosperity” tour.

  48. avatar ma'iingan says:

    Can’t blame wolves for this one, although the hardcore wolf opponents will surely try. The primary factor is probably climate change – moose have difficulty with temperatures above 70°.

  49. avatar jon says:

    Are Hunters Good Wildlife Stewards When It Comes To Wolves? Not According To This Study

    • avatar willam huard says:

      The comments are interesting. The first anonymous poster has this articulate post- followed by a mindless incoherent comment by “toothless” Bruce Hemming. What a freakin loon…..

    • avatar Ryan says:


      Would the wolves even be here if it weren’t for hunters pushing to conserve the wolves prey base in the late 1800’s through today?

      • avatar Immer Treue says:


        Hunters conserving prey base????? Hunters and market hunting all but eliminated the prey base, which meant there was nothing remaining save livestock, thus began the real wolf wars.

      • avatar Phil says:

        Ryan: That is a ridiculous comment. Seriously? It was in part due to the hunters that the wolves were eliminated and now you are saying that it is because of hunters that wolves are here? I don’t believe you are seeing the real picture on this issue.

      • avatar Ryan says:


        Sport hunting and Market hunting are not the same thing. Its like saying sports fishing and commercial fishing are the same thing.


        My point was would they have reintroduced Wolves if there were no elk or deer for them to eat?

        • avatar Jay says:

          Would it have been necessary to reintroduce wolves in the first place if the white man hadn’t inundated N. America with his guns and livestock?

        • avatar Phil says:

          Ryan: The conservation of elk and deer from hunters was not directed to eventually reintroduce wolves in the NRM.

          I mentioned a few months ago that I would post any updates of the Wolf and Moose Research Expedition on Isle Royale and here is an update on the expedition.

          On the first day we had a chance to talk with Leah Vulerich (John’s wife) while on the boat for a 5 hour trip from Houghton, Michigan to Mott Island in Isle Royale. Currently, there is only one pack remaining on the island consisting of 9 members. There are 5 solitaire wolves on the island as well who cross paths with the territory of the Chippewa Harbor Pack, so the solitaires are very vulnerable.

          Last Jan there were two packs (Chippewa Harbor and Middle Pack). Middle Pack had the two remaining females on the island, and in late Feb the Chippewa Harbor Pack killed the alpha male in the Middle Pack which immediately brought the two females into their pack. The rest of the Middle Pack dispersed. I took photos of the vertebrate (which shows the asymmetric formation from inbreeding) and skull of the Middle Pack alpha male.

          Our main purpose was to find bones (skull-to determine sex, metatarsal-to identify arthritis, and mandible-determine age)of moose, and listen to wolves throughout the nights to see if the pack had any pups this season.

          We were in the center of the Chippewa Harbor Pack’s territory, but did not hear any pups howling and yipping. One of the other members in the group I was in and I heard wolf howls the first night, but I believe it was one of the solitaire wolves as there were no multiple howls at the same time. Lots and lots of loons that sounded like wolf pup howls, but listening closely it was clearly not pups. It doesn’t mean there are no pups, we just did not hear them.

          Rolf talked to us on the last night and has a plan he would like to insinuate with regards to the wolves, but I am not quite sure I can post all the details on here with respect to Rolf.

        • avatar JB says:

          Hold on folks; ungulate populations were killed by unregulated killing (some killed for subsistence, some for sale/market). It was a consortium of bird lovers and “sport hunters” (who, ironically, were largely rich, progressive easterners) who pushed for public lands (saved habitat) and the regulation of the practice of hunting.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            And to add to JB’s comments.
            I pulled out an old copy of “The American Environment:Readings in the History of Conservation” that I have in my collection. There is a series of chapters that examine the change in the 1930’s started by Hornaday and Leopold which raised the red flag to the practice of market hunting which was certain to exterminate the nations wild birds and game….It wasn’t until 1937 when revenues provided the states through the Pittman -Robertson Act and 3 years later with the establishment of the USFWS was there a committment to game management.
            “Congress is confronted by strongly organized and vociferous groups of bushwackers who protest loudly against placing “any more restrictions on sportsmen” and who “declaim and print denunciations of any further curtailment of the priveledges of the killers”.

            “The closed mind is just as deadly as the loaded gun.”
            “Ever since the coming of man, ignorance and greed have been the world’s greatest enemies”

  50. avatar Immer Treue says:


    The thing is, hunters whether sport (oxymoron in my opinion, and not meant to be anti hunting as in subsistence hunting), and market HUNTERS had little to nothing to do with conservation In the late 1800’s .

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      One good reference, and a good read, for JB’s historically correct post above: “Wilderness Warrior Theodore Roosevelt And The Crusade For America” Douglas Brinkley.

      It was indeed the socially elite “sport hunters” of the late 1800’s who were far and away most responsible for establishing the foundation of on-the-ground habitat reserves and the legal framework for wildlife and habitat conservation. Without Roosevelt an ardent lifelong hunter and naturalist, it is very unlikely we would be having these conversations about how best to continue our wildlife conservation heritage. A remarkable convergence of crisis, opportunity and leadership in a very narrow window of our history.

      • avatar willam huard says:

        Theodore Roosevelt was a predator hater….Look it up. People said he was psychotic when he hunted, and that no animal whether it be an ostrich sitting on it’s eggs was safe. Gotta a big poster of him over your nightstand huh Mark?

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Once again, your personal discomfort with, in this case history – Roosevelt’s passion for hunting – has no bearing on the historical fact that Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental in establishing our heritage of wildlife conservation and system of habitat and wildilfe refuges and reserves. Whether he hunted predators or mice doesn’t affect his seminal contribution to the heritage we celebrate today.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            No Mark-
            My personal discomfort lies in:

            72 hour trapcheck policies- designed around the convenience level of the trapper and no regard or consideration
            given to the animal stuck in the trap for 3 days…..

            My personal discomfort lies in IDFG attempting to kill 800 wolves and with a straight face call it anything but persecution…..

          • avatar jon says:

            William, this hunt isn’t about conserving wolves. Ask the hunters/outfitters why they are going to hunt wolves this year. I guarantee the majority of them would tell you it isn’t about conservation or conserving wolves. Rockholm is telling hunters to to poach wolves. A “conservationist” telling people to shoot as many wolves as they can and break the law. Billijo beck, a notorious outfitter from Idaho says we aren’t after the pelts of wolves, we’re after the blood of the wolf. Really shows you just how extreme these people are. The wolf hunt has never been about conservation. It’s about killing as many wolves as we can so there will be more elk and deer for us hunters to “harvest”.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            I know all about the white trailer trash that has been controlling the debate in Idaho. These people aren’t exactly playing with full deck. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get things to change in Idaho. I feel sorry for the wolves……

          • avatar jon says:

            The non hunters in Idaho who represent the majority will have to stand up to the minority and say hey, we own the wildlife as well and we want our voices heard. The public wants wolves reduced some will tell you. This is the hunting/ranching public. What about all those that don’t hunt? What do they think about wolves? The hunters have been acting like they are the only ones that own the wildlife and this type of attitude has to stop. Non hunters need a way to help fund conservation and maybe then their voices will be heard. Wildlife viewing should be the top priority, not hunting and providing targets for hunters to shoot and kill.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            You can’t change 100 years worth of cultural ignorance overnight. This hatred advocated by the Chandie Bartell’s and Billi Jo Bob Beck’s of the world have festered over 3 or more generations. Immer Treue has the right intentions with “unity within the wildlife conservation community” but remember hunters do not respect the opinions of the wildlife watchers because hunters know better….Barack Obama 3 years in is still talking about “compromise” while his opposition won’t even confirm half of his administration…..
            While advocating for unity the “grinning idiots” will be busy posing for their trophy shots with their freshly trapped and baited 6 month old pup that has been out of it’s den for 3 months……

        • avatar jon says:

          Teddy Roosevelt is no different than the sport hunters you see today that dislike wolves. the so called conservationist/sport hunter teddy thought that wolves were beasts of waste and desolation and good ol teddy hunted them mercilessly. Teddy was the Don Peay of his time imho.

          • avatar WM says:


            I did not know Teddy Roosevelt was much of a wolf killer, though I have not had occasion to seek facts in this regard. I was aware he participated as a one time guest of a professional wolf hunter in Oklahoma in 1907. Don’t know if he actually killed any, other than just ride along with the guy who did and be present. No guns were used, apparently. He caught a couple with is bare hands, according to official accounts of the event.

            Can you point us in the direction of factual accounts of other Roosevelt wolf killing sprees?

            Again, I don’t know, but would like to learn more, if it is factual and documented.

          • avatar WM says:

            Sorry, “……..he (John Abernathy, the professional wolf hunter) caught a couple with his bare hands……”

          • avatar willam huard says:

            I have an idea WM-
            put in theodore roosevelt killing wolves and have a party.

            “outdoors people love to resurrect Teddy Roosevelt when they begin talking conservation and environmental issues…Meaning no disrespect to Mr Roosevelt but he was no saint in the woods by the standards of today. The man loved a good hunt and found much sport in running down wolves with dogs and watching them fight to the death…

            I called him a predator hater because he was. Cleveland Amory, the founder of fund for animals, wrote MANKIND- Our INCREDIBLE WAR ON WILDLIFE. In the book he wrote several pages about Roosevelt’s psychotic hunting style. Of course FFA was bought by the HSUS, your favorite organization, so I won’t bother quoting the book.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            The “skinny moose” entry is the one that contains the running wolves down with dogs.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          As I said William……

  51. avatar Immer Treue says:


    I am aware of what JB wrote from other sources. What Ryan needed to include was the fact it was the social elite from the East that provided the impetus for this conservation. The irresponsible hunting of the 1800’s is what put wolves in the cross hairs in the first place.

    Ironic, isn’t it that the social elite of the East was responsible for the first steps of conservation in the West, not those in the West. Now that the prey base is reestablished, the West cries that wolf reintroduction is supported by those in the East, not in the West. Could one then conclude that the West cares little about conservation? Evidently the folks of Idaho care little about conservation, and ecology, and now want the folks of the East to butt out of their business, as you have stated to many posters on this blog.

    It has been written before that a true conservationist cares about what he/she conserves 52 weeks of the year. A hunter cares about conservation 50 weeks out of the year, and spends the other two weeks tries to kill what he/she conserves. NOT MEANT TO BE ANTI-HUNTING.

    Ranching and conservation might be perceived as polar opposites.

    Your last sentence. +++”A remarkable convergence of crisis, opportunity and leadership in a very narrow window of our history.”+++ The same can be said for wolf reintroduction and recolonization.

    With the anti-wolf vitriol that exists, do you understand why those of us who are pro-wolf are concerned with Idaho and Wyoming wolf “conservation.” Mark, with respect to your patience in responses to so many of us on this site, the Idaho wolf plan is not CONSERVATION. The management plan is attrition by almost any means.

    That said, I am in accord that a wolf hunting season should exist, and as a MN Easterner and a conservationist, though far from a social elitist, I am adamantly opposed to the management plans and conservation for wolves in Idaho and Wyoming.

  52. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB’s post responded to a string of comments mischaracterizing the contribution of “sport” hunters to American wildlife conservation. A smaller piece of the historical puzzle, but significant none-the-less. Revisionist history is counter-productive to our understanding of where we’ve come from, what we can learn from the past and what our options are forward.
    My last post was a narrow response to your reply to Ryan:
    “The thing is, hunters whether sport (oxymoron in my opinion, and not meant to be anti hunting as in subsistence hunting), and market HUNTERS had little to nothing to do with conservation In the late 1800′s.”
    It is a large inaccuracy to say that hunters, whether “sport” or “market” had little to do with conservation in the late 1800’s. The elite “sport” hunters of that era played a huge role in buildling the foundation of contemporary North American wildlife conservation.
    The remainder of your last post is ….. interesting and perhaps revealing. Your suggestion that westerners, Idahoans in your example, care little for conservation or ecology and that the Idaho wolf management plan cannot be considered to be a conservation plan conveys a hint of elitism, not withstanding your assurance that you are not a social elitist. The implication of your sweeping proclamation is that since “westerners” (Idahoans?) do not share yours and others preferences and values for wildlife management (within the bounds of sustainable and healthy populations of all wildlife species) – the wildlife management values and preferences of those who reside in the west are not “of conservation principles”. Perhaps you assume that conclusion is grounded in self-evidence. It is not. Like other recent posts, your comments validly explain that you disapprove of the Idaho wolf management plan, that western values do not mesh with your personal values, that the wildlife conservation objectives of western states are not your personal preferences. Your personal disapproval and disagreement is simply that – NOT evidence that the Idaho wolf population will not be conserved for current and future generations. Like historical revisionism, mischaracterizing disagreement with wildlife management objectives as anti-conservation does a dis-service to the real need for unity within the wildlife conservation community.

    • avatar IDhiker says:


      Whether you are correct, or IDFG’s detractors, will soon be known. With the no-quota plan and the “noise’ coming out of the Idaho State government, it is no wonder some people are suspicious of Idaho’s commitment to “conserving wolves for current and future generations.” And, your department refuses to proclaim what level of wolf population meets the “conserving” of this species. I would propose that a number hovering around or just above 150 animals is not conserving. IDFG’s actions regarding wolves should make anyone wary, especially as you have often admitted, politics is closely intertwined with fish and game decisions. But again, as I mentioned, the real truth about IDFG’s intentions will be soon out there for all to see. Personally, I hope you are right, and that you don’t have to eat your words.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:


      My personal disapproval of the Idaho plan is just that. According to you, it does not reflect the sentiments of the people of Idaho.

      My point was, it was a very small group of hunters and conservationists that started the entire conservation motion. The thread that I replied to was in itself very narrow, +++Would the wolves even be here if it weren’t for hunters pushing to conserve the wolves prey base in the late 1800′s through today?+++ Were it not hunters, one could also say the prey base never would have been eradicated, and perhaps, just perhaps we would not be having these discussions.

      We are at that fine narrow time frame again. Wolves have been conserved and reintroduced, due to a great deal of pressure from the East, the same pressure that began elk conservation.

      I can’t control what people think. +++ Like historical revisionism, mischaracterizing disagreement with wildlife management objectives as anti-conservation does a dis-service to the real need for ***unity within the wildlife conservation community***.+++ If you think what I wrote was mischaracterizing, so be it. I really hope you share your mantra with the anti-wolf folks the way you share it here.

      One more thing. Historical revisionism is indeed critical. History needs be understood so that the same mistakes are not repeated. Quit playing the politician and call the Idaho plan what it is, a plan to knock the Idaho wolf population down, and in the future keep it down. I guess we will find out soon, and as IDHIKER wrote, I hope you are correct.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Mark Gamblin,

        You have told several people that their disapproval of Idaho’s wolf management plan is simply their opinion, based on their personal dislikes and values, then implying they are out of the mainstream. I maintain that these commentator’s opinions have as much validity as yours (IDFG), and probably more. Simply because you belong to a state agency does not necessarily give you and that agency any more credibility than anyone else. Stating that other opinions are personal values and, “NOT evidence that the Idaho wolf population will not be conserved for current and future generations” is also not proof that the IDFG plan meets that conservation.

        It is common knowledge that your agency is directed by commissioners and politicians that heavily represent the livestock industry and similar interest groups. These people are the ones making the policies that IDFG must follow in regards to wolf management. Yours is not a independent wildlife agency, but rather a political arm of these same interests. These “directors” of IDFG are not interested in conserving the wolf for any generation, and since IDFG is so manipulated by these anti-wolf interests, opinions of yourself and IDFG have less validity than many on this site.

        The policies of IDFG are based on the personal values and “discomforts” of these people, not on any superior knowledge of biological issues. Because current politics in Idaho support these interests does not mean they are right. Often, a minority opinion turns out to be right in the long term.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          ID Hiker,
          You misunderstand my point. It is not my intent to tell anyone that their personal perferences or values have less or more validity than those of anyone else. I was, again, speaking to the common refrain that the Idaho wolf management plan, scheduled hunt and other wildlife managment programs are not based on science, do not serve the public trust, do not serve wildlife conservation. My point was that those objections reflect conflicting personal preferences and values – rather than inadequacies of the plan and the hunt for grounding in sound science, wildlife conservation principles or serving the public trust.
          I do respect the validity of the preferences and values of all members of this blog community. If anyone feels disrespected, that is not my intent. Quite the opposite.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            With all due respect, in this case I think you are missing part of my point also. You responded to my first paragraph, but ignored the rest.

            I’m saying that instead of being based on “sound science, wildlife conservation principles or serving the public trust”, that the Idaho wolf management plan is more likely based on the personal desires and prejudices of the commissioners and the politicians that control them. Those people, in turn, control IDFG and the policies that you (IDFG) set. So, as we have discussed earlier, whether any decisions of IDFG were based on science is a mute issue, as the politicians have all final say, especially in this controversial issue regarding wolves.

            Looking at the backgrounds of the commission members reveals their biases and conflicts of interests, which should make anyone suspicious. Now, for example, were there a couple of commission members that came from the other side of the spectrum, and they too supported the plan, then the plan would have more validity. In your case, personally, you are a member of IDFG, and as a result, you really don’t have the option of speaking your mind, especially if your opinion should differ from the commission. You can imagine what would happen should you say on this site that you thought the wolf plan is flawed. I don’t know you personally, and perhaps you really think the management plan is perfect. But, because of the heavy political influence on IDFG, the department’s actions must always be suspect to those outside of IDFG and state government.

            For now, whether the management plan is a good one or not, will be a question for the future, when the actual results will be seen for all to examine. Right now, it’s a matter of assumptions and “educated” guesswork.

          • avatar jon says:

            I have no doubt if an IDFG employee such as Mark came out publicly and said that Idaho’s wolf plan is flawed, they would be suspended or fired on the spot. Anyone remember dave Moody of Wyoming fish and game? If you want to keep your job, you keep your mouth shut and let the politics do the talking.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:


      +++The remainder of your last post is ….. interesting and perhaps revealing. Your suggestion that westerners, Idahoans in your example, care little for conservation or ecology and that the Idaho wolf management plan cannot be considered to be a conservation plan conveys a hint of elitism, not withstanding your assurance that you are not a social elitist.+++

      My assurances are just that. I find no benefit in prevarication.

      • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

        Your comments are consistently among the more rational, well stated and constructive in these discussions. My blunt observation that your suggestion regarding western (Idaho) residents:
        ” Could one then conclude that the West cares little about conservation? Evidently the folks of Idaho care little about conservation, and ecology,…”

        is an example of elitism – is not to suggest that you desire to prevaricate (deliberately decieve, use false information), rather I meant to suggest that perhaps you revealed an unintentional bias, an elitist perspective, that because the Idaho wolf management plan does not satisfy your (and others) desires for wolf management (despite the plan being strongly committed to wolf conservation objectives, including a viable, sustained Idaho wolf population) that the plan and those who support the plan (yes, a broad cross section of Idahoans) are somehow not alligned with fudamental wildlife conservation principles and lack a commitment to conservation or ecological health.
        My most important point is that – of course the Idaho wolf management plan is a sound conservation plan that ensures a continued viable and sustainable wolf population and of course the people of Idaho (and the west in general) desire healthy wildlife populations and are committed to wildlife conservation for future generations. WHAT those objectives to manage for – a regulated wolf population in balance with other wildlife objectives for example – and HOW to achieve those objectives is the crux of the controversy, NOT whether wolf management or western (Idaho) wildlife values and preferences are based on sound science, wildlife conservation principles or public trust responsibilities. I look forward to hearing your insight and perspectives in future dialog.

        • avatar IDhiker says:


          Again, you have made the comment that the plan is committed to a “viable and sustainable” wolf population. But, again you don’t tell us what IDFG’s vision is of what constitutes a “viable” population. IDFG has no problem knowing what numbers of elk, for example, constitute a viable population, but is elusive about the same for wolves.

          IDFG would have more credibility, if instead of hiding behind vague words, you would define what that population is. It is only logical that in order to have a “viable” population, that one must know what constitutes that population.

          • avatar jon says:

            3000 cougars in Idaho, 30,000 bears, 100,000 elk, who knows how many deer and idaho fish and game thinks that 150 wolves is a viable and sustainable wolf population. Wolves are not treated the same as other wildlife.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            ID Hiker,
            Viability in terms of population dynamics, is conventionally understood to describe a population that functions successfully within it’s environment – the resources available to the population, habitat in general, including food and cover necessary to sustain a stable population – and the stochastic mortality events that challenge a sustained population. Viability generally means the realiability of a population to continue into the future.

            Population viability, as a management concept, is different from a descrete population management objective for numbers, age ratio, sex ration or other common population metrics. The Idaho wolf management plan is founded on the population management objective that the Idaho wolf population will be managed to assure a sustained and viable population, within the ESA listing/de-listing criteria for the RMR wolf population. In Idaho, that means wolves will be managed and monitored to assure that there will always be no less than 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs of wolves, statewide, taking into account unpredictable stochastic natural events beyond human control. That level of responsible management control will be guided by monitoring of wolf packs throughout the state.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            jon, wolves, in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are manageed exactly as other managed populations of wildlife. There are defined management objectives to achieve the desires of society for sustained use and benefits of wildlife resources. Wolves are being managed to balance the benefits of wolves with the benefits of other wildlife populations – elk, deer, moose, etc. and to regulate the predation by wolves on private property. And, as with every wildlife population managed under the North American Model, wolves are managed to ensure a viable, sustained population for future generations.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            Thank you for answering my comment. You could have saved a lot of effort by simply giving me the number of what constitutes a “viable” population in IDFG’s eyes, which you identified as 150 animals. My next question is: what is IDFG’s goal of wolf reduction, in other words, how close to the 150 animals does IDFG hope to go before IDFG closes wolf hunting / trapping seasons?

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            How close to 150 animals taking into account the possibility of stochastic events?

          • avatar jon says:

            jon, wolves, in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are manageed exactly as other managed populations of wildlife.

            No they are not. They want to take the wolf population of 1000 or more down to 150. The reason why idaho fish and game are not giving a # is because they don’t want to publicly admit what their true intentions are and that is taking the wolf population down to the very minimum of 150. Do you see anyone talking about taking the 30,000 bears in idaho all the way down to 150 bears? or about taking down the 3000 cougars down to 150?

          • avatar willam huard says:

            ID Hiker-

            Your comments have been right on the money. A perfect example of how wildlife commissions have absolutely nothing to do with “reasonable” science based management can be found with the dramatic changes Gov Marinez has instituted in NM. First she appointed members with ranching, hunting, and trapping backgrounds, appointed not elected. First came the pullout of NMFG support for the wolf program. Next came the reversal of the trapping ban and an increase in levels of trapping on public lands….
            Next we will have the ranchers screaming for lethal control of Mexican wolves as the Teabag Governor expresses her concern for ranchers and their way of life….
            The thing that exasperates me the most is the blatant dishonesty of the State of Idaho. They will kill 850 wolves and keep the level just above the 150 threshold to avoid Federal intervention…Name another predator that is exposed to this level of hunting and trapping pressure…..
            I went on the internet and found the Idaho Commission members. I didn’t get passed Tony Mcdermott- we all know these people are political hacks…..

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            Thanks for your comments. The Idaho commissioners are representing their interests, and that doesn’t include wolves. There is no biological or scientific foundation to the Idaho wolf management plan. That is why IDFG is being so vague – they are trying to fly “under the radar” with this. One can describe the plan with all the fancy words one wants, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            I’m through bashing Mark G and IDFG. Aren’t you shocked he hasn’t responded to your concern about the extra month of trapping in the Salmon River area? I sure am. You guys are stuck with these people! good luck- the wolves will need it

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Elitist: not guilty
          Taking an assumption beyond the limit: guilty.

          Does not detract from my argument that the wolf season is too long, with the new variable of no harvest limit, and I’m just opposed to the trapping as it now stands. No assumption here, but I would think people would be capable of better.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Fair enough. I’m sincere when I say that I value your contributions to these dialogs.

          • avatar WM says:

            Some of the plaintiffs appealing Judge Molloy’s decision to uphold the “rider” which he found, reluctantly, to be permissible under 9th Circuit (and other circuit court precident), have asked for an emergency injuncion to stop the pending wolf hunts which begin the end of this month.

            MT has identified a quota of 220, while ID has no quota set (other than to say they will revisit the issue through the season as harvest progresses). Should the 9th decide to grant such an injunction to stop the hunts, certainly one aspect they may address is ID’s failure to have some sort of quota after which harvests will stop in some units or all of the state before the wolf population is culled down to minimum levels. ID may have shot themselves in the foot with that strategic blunder, as this conflict continues to play out. Had they chosen a hard number like 300, or so, it would be more difficult to justify an injunction pending outcome of the appeal. The 9th will likely rule on the emergency injunction within the next 10 days, since the season starts Aug 30 in ID.

          • avatar jb says:

            WM: Agreed. I wonder how to what extent the no quota decision was driven by the desire to avoid specifying a number, which would have been too high for wolf advocates and too low for those Idaho politicians who continuously exhibit an inability to keep their tentacles off of wolves? Another legislative intervention would have exhibit one in the case for relisting (citing regulatory inadequacies).

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            I also agree with you that Idaho should have set a limit, rather than a “no quota” season. “No quota” arouses suspicions about Idaho’s real intent, when transparency would better serve this issue, especially considering all the controversy.

        • avatar JEFF E says:


        • avatar jb says:

          Mark, I think the reason you are getting so much push back is that your responses , while polite and generally accurate, imply that Idaho’s commission is capable of selecting a “balanced” and “appropriate” management plan. Your use of such subjective, value-laden terminology is what people object to. Put another way, it is one thing to tell someone that while their voice was heard, their preferences and values are not included in a plan; it is another thing entirely when you assert that their preferences and values were not included in the MOST APPROPRIATE plan. That kind of statement invites reply.

          • avatar JB says:

            Apologies! Apparently I am incapable of posting to the correct sub-thread. I will blame it on the hand-held.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Thanks for the constructive feedback. Your point is well taken. It’s risky to stake a position on subjective values, even in a business that requires adherence to those values. Public service inherently includes the burden of responsibility to select the most appropriate and balanced decisions that best serve the needs of the public. It’s beyond my role in Idaho wildlife management to determine what those decisions should be. That belongs to the Fish and Game Commission, to be judged by the Idaho public. It would have been – more appropriate – to say: “their voice was heard, their preferences and values are not included in a plan because the Commission decided the the most responsible plan would not include those preferences at this time.”

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            It would be more accurate in your last sentence:

            “more appropriate – to say: “their voice was heard, their preferences and values are not included in a plan because the Commission decided the the most responsible plan would not include those preferences at this time.”

            to delete the word “responsible.”

        • avatar Ken Cole says:

          Wow, Mark Gamblin accusing someone of being “elite”.

          1. A group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category, esp. because of their power, talent, or wealth.

          I guess the meaning of elite is subjective.

          It seems to me that the elite are those who control policy and that the IDFG Commission is comprised entirely of people who represent Idaho elite, or those who kow tow to the landed, noble, elite. The rest of us don’t get much say.

    • avatar JB says:

      Just back on line after a few days off and it took a while to get caught up on this thread. My comments (above) were met to point out that “sport” hunting in the late 1800s was vastly different from today; it was rich, urban, eastern elites who wanted to preserve the opportunity to hunt as a sport, which required protecting wild populations from unregulated killing. As Mark pointed out, Teddy Roosevelt was a key piece of the conservation puzzle–and an ardent conservationist by ANY definition. Applying today’s moral and ethical standards to a man of that time misses the point that we owe much of what we have today to Roosevelt’s actions (he single-handedly protected more land [HABITAT] in the US than any other person).

      I would add, however, that it is disingenuous to attribute wolves’ reintroduction to YNP to sport hunters. Yellowstone preceded Roosevelt’s work in conservation by several decades. It was a USGS expedition (in 1871, if memory serves) that led to Yellowstone’s creation a year later–and law protecting the wildlife therein.

      Much of the credit for Yellowstone’s preservation can be laid at the feet of William Henry Jackson (a photographer) and Thomas Moran (a well-known romantic landscape painter), whose works were passed around the halls of Congress in support of the creation of a park–and by historical accounts, absolutely integral to the park’s creation. So, by my calculations, the ground work for wolves’ reintroduction (and Bison’s preservation) was laid largely by a New York artist/photographer (Jackson), an English immigrant from New York (Moran), and a rich, New York city progressive Republican (I know, sounds like an oxymoron by today’s standards; Roosevelt). Of course, Leopold (a Wisconsinite), Muir (a Scottish-born Californian), and Pinchot (another easterner and progressive Republican) all played a role, as well. Not a “true westerner” among them–but a number of sport hunters.

  53. avatar Cindy says:

    I hope Mr. Ashe was impressed with the Pinnacle Peak pack. They love elk steaks from the refuge. I wonder if our wolf hating Senator Barrasso was on the sightseeing trip??

    • avatar jon says:

      Cindy, I hope you and others like you in WY will attend some of these meetings they are going to have on the wolf management plan.

    • avatar willam huard says:

      I call him Senator Bourasshole. I called Ashe’s office for a solid week asking if he got the job by selling out the Wyoming wolves ( a hostage situation compliments of our afformentioned Sen……Needless to say I wasn’t popular with Ashe’s office.

  54. avatar Cindy says:

    Hi Jon – You bet, I was actually in attendance a meeting with the Governor’s representative in April. Most of those meeting around the state were with hunting/livestock interests, we were able to get in front of him for a couple of hours. It was one tough meeting as you could just feel he didn’t give a hoot about what we were presenting. I have been studying the Wyoming draft plan the past two weeks. I will be moving forward with the help of a Greater Yellowstone Coalition representative so we can have a cohesive presence next Wednesday night here in Jackson. The feeding lot issue is almost more than I can handle! I find it more than interesting that Mr. Ashe was here..this week.

    • avatar jon says:

      Cindy, where abouts in WY does the Pinnacle Peak pack reside? Just think sometime next year that pack will be killed once wolves are listed as predators if they are caught in the predator zone. Very sickening to just think about.

  55. avatar Cindy says:

    They are not in the predator zone, too close to Grand Teton National Park, But they do however frequent the National Elk Refuge, which in the draft plan for Wyoming states wolves can be eliminated for harassing or upsetting elk that are eating on the food line.

  56. avatar Cindy says:

    Dear Limpy was taken at a feed grounds 100 miles
    south of Jackson. That area WILL be
    predator zone, although this new flex line that
    has been added to the plan is nearer there.
    Limpy lived amongst hardened wolf haters.

    • avatar willam huard says:

      What a waste. I remember Mike Jimenez telling me the story of going to get Limpy. These rabid wolf haters make me sick to my stomach.

      • avatar jon says:

        So Mike was the one that went to Utah to get limpy from that trapper’s trap William? Most people didn’t even know that limpy got his limp from a trapper’s trap.

        • avatar willam huard says:

          Jon, I’ve talked to Mike Jimenez, he’s very friendly. We talked for about 30 minutes and he told me that he and I think one other employee went to get Limpy after being caught in a coyote trap. Everyone you talk to says that he was a special animal, courageous and fearless, a true wild wolf. I think it is disgusting this Wyoming plan. It further dis-respects the memory of Limpy.
          And it’s condoned and approved by people that are employed to protect these animals.

      • avatar jon says:

        I agree, it was a waste. Limpy and other wolves like him die for absolutely nothing.

  57. avatar willam huard says:

    The Grann article about the Todd W. case is stunning…..
    Just think what would happen to the environment if this airhead ever became President.

  58. avatar IDhiker says:

    Mark Gamblin (IDFG),

    I was examining the trapping regulations for the next season regarding wolves. I guess I am extremely disappointed to see that IDFG has left the season open through the end of March in the wilderness areas such as the Middle Fork and Selway areas. This also includes the Salmon River area.

    In the past, due to multiple conflicts with traps, I’ve come to avoid these areas until the end of February. I had, however, been able to fly into the Middle Fork and raft & hike the Salmon River starting in March without the hassle of traps. Now, however, you have taken another month of recreating in these areas away. IDFG has no regard for other users of the national forests in it’s quest to kill wolves. Personally, I don’t want to encounter and see trapped animals along my favorite hiking trails or get my dogs caught in wolf traps. Can’t your agency give any of us a break besides trappers and hunters? Good grief!

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      If you are also shocked, as noted by William above, that I haven’t responded to your post above, I missed your comment and question. I’ve been working inside and outside and failed to keep up with the lively flow of comments.
      OK, ….. no one has taken a month of recreating in the Frank Church away from anyone – unless the Forest Service has closed the area. I don’t think so. Allowing trapping through the end of March is consistent with the wolf hunting and trapping season in the majority of the state. Trapping was added to this season to enhance the likelihood of responsibly achieving wolf population reduction objectives. Whether you plan to fly in, hike in or raft the Middle Fork, the odds of you and your dogs encountering a wolf set are very low and much lower that you would encounter a wolf in a wolf trap – EXTREMELY low unless you have prior knowledge of a wolf set and choose to monitor it. Only you can decide if the very unlikely event of viewing a wolf trap or EXTREMELY unlikely event of viewing a wolf in a trap is enough of a trauma to force your personal decision to not enter the Frank Church Wilderness Area to recreate in late winter. Based on the dilema you described here – I see no reasonable, rational reason for the Commission to not implement a hunting and trapping season in the Frank Church or to close it earlier than March 31.

      • avatar IDhiker says:


        You have missed what I was trying to say. The wolf season is adding about six weeks to the time that trapping is allowed in these areas. Until this year, one could safely hike with dogs at the beginning of March, now that time is gone due to this long season. If you think encountering traps is uncommon, then you obviously haven’t spent as much time out in the winter as have I or you’ve been fortunate. I’ve encountered many traps and snares and just so you don’t accuse me of being irresponsible, my dogs are with me, not off running. I do not support irresponsible dog ownership, especially in the wilderness. I totally disagree with your contention that the March season is reasonable and rational. December through February are months when most people do other things, but March has always been the beginning of spring activities of other types along the Middle Fork and Salmon Rivers. Your problem is that you can never see anyone else’s perspective as being legitimate, but how can you, being a spokeman for IDFG? Your statement about “trauma” viewing a wolf in a trap is, in my opinion, insensitive.

        • avatar IDhiker says:


          Also keep in mind that people run a whole spectrum of what they prefer to see and experience. All the way from stone-cold to the other extreme. How many people would eat a burger if they had to spend a day in a slaughterhouse? Probably not many, so they avoid it.

          • avatar jon says:

            and that right there idhiker is the #1 reason why trapping should not be allowed. It’s an indiscriminate tool. ANY animal that gets caught in a trapper’s trap will be in it for up to 72 hours and I don’t see anything humane or ethical about this. I wonder where they got this 72 hour rule from to check your traps. I can’t imagine how it would be like for some nature lover to come across a wolf that is trapped.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          I understand your position on a trapping season that runs through March. I think you understand why the Commission approved this hunting/trapping season for these areas. I do think your perspective is legitimate. If you go back a look at my comments on this and similar issues, I think you will see that I try to emphasize that while yours and others perspectives/disires/values are valid, legitimate, important – that does not guarantee that your preferences will be chosen as the most balanced and appropriate management solution to a given wildlife management challenge. That is the case for your concerns and objections to the wolf hunting/trapping season in the Frank Church and Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness Areas.
          Regarding the insensitivity of my “trauma” remark, I have to agree with you. I was not sensitive to your position that an entire hunting/trapping season should be shortened or held at all because of your discomfort with the remote possibility of seeing a wolf set (trap or snare) or even more unlikely possibility of seeing a wolf in a trap or snare. By that I mean that I don’t find your desire/request/concern to be a issue of sufficient significance that would merit changing a hunting/trapping season to provide you with a wilderness recreational experience free of that potential emotional distress. I hasten to emphasize that I do believe your concerns have legitimacy and deserve consideration by the Department and the Commission – together with a number of other important wildlife management needs and challenges.

          • avatar JEFF E says:


          • avatar jon says:

            Mark, trapping on public lands is a public safety hazard. What if people’s pets are caught in traps or even killed? Has Idaho fish and game told the whole public that traps are being put on public lands specifically for wolves? You can say it’s unlikely to happen all you want, but the fact is there is still a possibility it could happen. Traps are indiscriminate, so I don’t understand how it would be allowed to let trappers check their traps every 72 hours. What if the wrong animal is caught in one of those traps meant for wolves?

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            My concern was that the trapping season has been lengthened into the spring about six weeks, not that there is a wolf season. I don’t believe I am just one person with this concern, and I personally know many people that do not enjoy encountering trapped animals.

            I believe that the commission’s quest to reduce wolf numbers has blinded them to other concerns. As I mentioned before, non-trappers have already conceded the woods to trapping for the whole winter, now the first month of the spring (in the river canyons) is added.

          • avatar jon says:

            Mark, you did not answer a question I asked you earlier. Trappers have 72 hours to check their traps. What if an animal gets trapped in a trap meant for wolves? That would mean that that animal would be trapped for 72 hours or up to 72 hours. How would that animal defend itself against other predators if it’s trapped? Is this a concern among trappers? I haven’t seen this being brought up at all. What happens if another animal that isn’t a wolf is caught in the traps?

          • avatar jon says:

            Mark, is it ethical and humane to let an animal stay in a trap up to 72 hours?

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            This is a concern for some trappers, and I think they place their sets to minimize it, but even so, large numbers of non-target animals are trapped every season. These animals will sit until the trapper comes back. I’ve personally seen many birds, skunks, and an otter accidently caught in traps set for marten and bobcats. The otter, by the way, escaped the trap, but left it’s foot in it. Non-target captures are the “dirty little secret” of trapping. Some trappers refer to them as “trash” animals.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            Is this a concern among trappers? What do you think. If the animal isn’t already dead if it’s an animal they can get 19 or 20 bucks at an auction they will kill the animal-HUMANELY. I love it when they say that…..HUMANELY. It’s indescriminate- and the victims are called “incidental take”.
            By the way- the state ratings for trapping in all 50 states is not a liberal or conservative issue- all aspects of trapping are rated- negative if there is no regulation or positive if there is a regulation. Trappers like to be self-regulated… Alaska- so there have been instances where wolves in particular were stuck in traps for more than a week! Who would do that?

            Idaho got a D
            Wyoming got a D+
            Montana gt a D-

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          The wolf hunting/trapping season is very well publicized in Idaho. That publicity – press releases; many television, radio and newspaper stories across the state; wolf hunting/trapping season published proclamations and community forums make this a well understood element of Idaho wildlife management. Public lands users have have many opportunities to understand this wildlife management activity during the upcoming season and take appropriate cautions if they intend to hunt or otherwise recreate on public lands with their dogs.
          The potential risk to dogs is there but trapping shouldn’t be considered a public safety risk

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            MG says:
            “that does not guarantee that your preferences will be chosen as the most balanced and appropriate management solution to a given wildlife management challenge.”

            Mark, we could all stop playing word games and realize that the preference that IDHiker retorts will never be chosen given the composition of state wildlife commissioners in any state, let alone ultra conservative Idaho. Commissioners in MA don’t even listen to sound science. I don’t think it is unreasonable for their to eventually be federal control of wolves like the Raptor Act (etc) given the extreme views (over 1/2 a year of hunting wolves) that seem to be the preference always chosen.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jon Way,
            The following are my personal observations.
            Are IDhiker’s preferences not selected/acted on/made the highest priority in wildlife management decisions by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, or any other fish and game – simply because of the make-up of those commissions or boards? Or, is there another possible explanation?

            If all states, INCLUDING MASSACHUSETTS, are not receptive to those preferences for predator management, could it be that those preferences for management of – wolves e.g. – are simply not shared by the majority of Americans? And by shared, I mean embraced in an way that would translate to the political action necessary to re-prioritize that portion of American wildlife management. Similarly, does your desire for a national canid managment act enjoy the public and political support necessary to usurp state management authority for wildlife species with life histories and habitat requirements not shared with other federally managed species? I’m referring to another frequent deductive assertion, by participants in this blog community that, for example, because most Americans don’t hunt – they oppose hunting – which is demonstrably incorrect. Were the issues of raptor conservation, waterfowl conservation, anadromous fish conservation similar in urgency to wolf conservation at this point of wolf recovery? – NO they were not; did the life history requirments of raptors, waterfowl and anadromous fish, crossing state boundaries on a national scale differ dramatically from the needs and realities of mammalian predators? – Yes, absolutely. Wolf conservation does not share the same logistical justification for federal oversight for conservation that highly migratory raptor, waterfowl or anadromous salmonids do; and, would a proposal for a “federal wild canid (wolf) protection act” receive the same level of necessary support (lack of opposition) from the states to make passage of such an intrusion into state wildlife management authority possible? The last question is for more knowledgeable experts on the American political process than I to answer, but speaking only from my personal knowledge, experience and perspective, I seriously doubt that the answer is yes. The American system of wildlife management is embedded in our system of government which, recognizing it’s shortcomings, is one of the most responsive forms of government on this planet – to the will of it’s public. I suggest that the lack of support by state fish and game regultory boards or commissions actually reflects the practical level of public support those preferences for management of wolves and other canids truely enjoys. Taken as a whole the chances of federal legislation to over-rule state management authority of wolves and other native canids appears – remote?

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            If the commission had a more varied make-up, you could have a valid point. But, since it doesn’t, your view here cannot be accepted without skepticism.

          • avatar JB says:

            Mark raises a few good questions/points that deserve reply here:

            “…could it be that those preferences for management of – wolves e.g. – are simply not shared by the majority of Americans?”

            Not according to the data I have seen. Rather, the data I have seen consistently show a couple of patterns: First, there is generally support for hunting wolves among residents of states with wolves; however, residents of these states generally feel that hunting (and other lethal management) should be justified (e.g., should occur when and where wolf populations are shown to impact ungulates, or should occur in response to specific livestock or pet depredation events). In contrast, studies at the national level show strong support for wolves and even continued listing under the ESA. Herein lies the problem: Wolves in the West still exist primarily on federal public land, but are being managed for the preferences of state residents, with (some would argue) considerable weight placed on the preferences of one small group–sport hunters.

            “Wolf conservation does not share the same logistical justification for federal oversight for conservation that highly migratory raptor, waterfowl or anadromous salmonids do; and, would a proposal for a “federal wild canid (wolf) protection act” receive the same level of necessary support (lack of opposition) from the states to make passage of such an intrusion into state wildlife management authority possible?”

            Mark is absolutely right about wolf conservation NOT sharing the same logistical justification as the MBTA or BGEPA; rather, the scenario we find ourselves in with wolves is much more akin to that which brought about the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Here again, we had a clash between local preferences for more “aggressive” forms of horse and burro management, and national values that viewed at least some of these methods as abhorrent. In my view, the danger to F&G agencies here is a loss of control of wolf management due to a failure to recognize the legitimacy of “outsiders” concerns, and adapt management accordingly.

            A final point: Long-term policy analyses conducted by political scientists show only weak correlation with policy and public opinion; rather, policy changes seem to be driven by protest behavior (e.g., writing/calling one’s congressperson, marching, etc.). It seems to me that whether such a arises will be largely dependent on whether state F&G agencies adopt policies that avoid such protests–this is why (at least in my opinion) structuring policy to avoid killing gravid females and wolf pups is important. The failure to adopt such policies invites protest, and protests invites federal intervention.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Mark G.,
            I completely disagree with your statement: “I suggest that the lack of support by state fish and game regultory boards or commissions actually reflects the practical level of public support those preferences for management of wolves and other canids truely enjoys.”

            Not only is predator hunting (I am not talking about all hunting) controversial, but it is participated only by a minor of hunters, who are generally a minority of the population of most states. Typical hunting methods favored by predator hunters: Mainly,
            using dogs
            foot hold traps

            Not only are these not popular with most non-hunters, but many hunters don’t even regard these as fair chase. You and I and the rest of the readers on this column know that when you write this “state fish and game regultory boards or commissions actually reflects the practical level of public support those preferences for management of wolves and other canids truely enjoys”

            you really mean this “state fish and game regultory boards or commissions actually reflects the practical level of HUNTER support those preferences for management of wolves and other canids truely enjoys”.

            There is no way the general public approves of most of these practices. Look at ballot initiatives in most states. They often focus on these types of issues. So, no: state fish and game commissions don’t represent the average resident of each state. And I know you aren’t naive enough to believe that either…

    • avatar WM says:


      Not to start a skirmish here, but speaking of “no regard for other users” I don’t particularly like dogs running lose on wilderness hiking trails. Any chance you would leave your dog(s) at home, like many of us do? That way you wouldn’t have to stress over traps.

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        WM –
        There is a naturalist here who has beat the drum about the impact of dogs on hiking trails. He says it all but guarantees you won’t see a variety of sensitive animals, including mustelids like mink and marten. Heck, maybe banning dogs would benefit trapping success near trails as well, saving a few more of our youth from the ravages of video games and oxycontin. I’m saying that as a dedicated dog owner who spends considerable time hiking with one, but I get your subtle point about a tendency among outdoor people tending to find fault with others’ impacts while ignoring their own because their use falls within the top priority, in their opinion.

        • avatar willam huard says:



          I’m always thinking about improving trapper success when I hike. According to every report I have ever read Alaska gets the lowest grade in relation to trapping regs and ethical standards Heck- according to this report they are the only state in the country to get an F. Nice going- keep up the good work torturing animals……

          • avatar jon says:

            Billijo Beck OH, I almost forgot….PLEASE keep the Small intestines of the Wolves you kill. Put them in a Bag with your Name and Location of Kill. Put on Ice please. Your close to Ron Gillete Hopefully he’ll keep the guts for clay…This is VERY important. Almost as important as Killing wolves. We gotta have that data….PLEASE…

            Yeah, these people are all about conserving wolves.

            Billijo Beck oh Boy Bruce, My comment should send Stone and Neiymer into fits. The USDA Federal boys made us a Video on how to close that 100 yards with wolves. After all, We want Dead wolves not smart wolves.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            She’s so Idaho

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Oh well, here we go. Used to solo on almost all trips and spent time in National Parks and left dog at home. Last two dogs, I thought why not, got packs and sleds and spend time in National Forests.

        Been on some long trips with a dog for a partner. Always smells like a dog in the tent, unlike males and females I have had the pleasure or not with whom to share a tent. After a few days, I’ll take the dog.

        If at all possible, always get off the trail, or at least defer to people. Horses, no exception, get off the trail. Dogs are great companions when they understand what
        they can and can’t do, ie they are trained.

        I’ve packed in bear, cougar, and wolf country with a dog, and it’s nice to have that extra set of eyes, ears, and nose for what is going on around you. A little bit of whining at times but never any bitching.

        Operative words with a dog in the wilderness is well trained.

        • avatar WM says:


          Over the years I have on occasion had a dog on the trail. Once on Mt. Massive, one of CO’s 14,400 ft peaks, I took my Siberian husky. He saw a deer off trail, bounded over the heather at about 11,500 feet and was gone. We searched for him among the alpine fir, and down into the montane valleys for the remainder of the day, until near dark. It made what was otherwise a very nice trip into something I never wanted to repeat. I got a very bad climber’s headache that one can get at high altitude when overexerting. Something like five hours later the dog finally came back to us after ignoring our calls, and apparently exhausting his curiosity. Had there been wolves in the area, as there will likely be in CO in the coming years, there would be a good chance the story would be different. I thought the dog was reasonably well trained.

          I took our golden retrieve on a FS trail on the east flank of Olympic NP a few weeks back. He was on a leash the entire time. Took the bigger tent (3 person ultra-lite, and a blue tarp so his nails wouldn’t scratch the delicate floor), so the wife, dog and I could share shelter from the bugs and occasional rain. Still trying to get the dog smell and mud off my good down Marmot Pinnacle sleeping bag. What to do with dog poop- well, I believe my dog didn’t have any parasites, so actually nothing. Now, I don’t know about other people’s dogs. There were a few dogs on this trail, but most were without, and I kept wondering if they had the same thoughts I have had in the past- sure wish they would leave their damn dogs home, as they scrape dog shit off their shoe.

          Oh, why did we take the dog, if I feel that way? I couldn’t find anybody to take care of the dog for the five days we were out. Next time that happens we will board the dog for $20/day.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            Climbed 10 14teeners with one German Shepherd, only got in one with the GS I have now… As far as dog poop, the dogs are vetted and always ventured a bit off the trail, and came back.

            I spent a lot of time in Route National Forest outside of Yampa, and always looked at it as the dog had less impact than horses.

            I always had a leash with me, but as I said, the dogs will listen to voice command. I sure did grab the collar when horses were on the trail. Thing was, the “cowboys” who were guiding had dogs that were running free.

            Biggest concern was porcupines. Had one come right through camp one night, and the dog was a bit ahead on the trail out one time and he thankfully just stood and looked at a porky perhaps 15 feet away. Training goes a long way.

        • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

          Immer –
          Agreed, training is certainly key. I found out today, taking a break from cutting firewood and taking my Labrador retriever for a walk along the beach that I need to work on training more. We came to one of the larger creeks thrashing with pinks and reeking of moldering carcasses (hauled upland with only a bite or two taken) and he took after a black bear before I could stop him. I had set the tennis ball and “chuck-it” thrower down — he is so into retrieving that if I have it in my hand he won’t even notice a bear or pay it any attention if he does. On a walk yesterday, I saw a young black bear shinny up a tree and suddenly noticed the mother eating a salmon just across the creek 40 feet away. Wiley never saw the sow and she never noticed us, so I just quietly walked away with him mesmerized by the ball in the “chuck-it”.

          I spent a couple of days this week on West Chichagof — just beat a huge storm system getting back. The new crew has a lab-husky cross — first dog there in 22 years, and she (being obedient and well-trained) is getting along well with the brown bears. I took a few photos of her sitting relaxed on the catwalk, watching a bear catch and eat pinks a few yards away on the face of the weir, and the bears seem to have quickly accepted her as just a new wrinkle in the human presence, the varied noises and odd rituals around the camp and the wonderful contraption we put in the creek making it easy to fish. Fishing is easy enough anyway this year with the creek downstream looking like about 75% water to 25% fish. The pink salmon return to northern Southeast appears to be all-time record with the commercial catch headed somewhere above the 1999 record of 36 million fish. At $0.43/lb. and a 3.6 lb. average, the seiners are making serious money and little creeks that normally get up to couple of thousand pinks have 30,000 sitting off the mouth.

          • avatar Daniel Berg says:


            Talk about trial by fire for a dog. I’ve read that that area has a very high concentration of bears.

          • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

            It’s interesting that you’ve read that brown bear densities on Chichagof are high. I’m pretty sure no direct estimates have been made near our fisheries project drainage which is in designated wilderness on the west side (outer coast) and don’t know what the best estimate for the island is (on Admiralty, it has long been said to be 1 per square mile). However, back in the 1980s, I remember wildlife managers becoming concerned about brown bear mortality on roaded NE Chichagof around Hoonah, as a lot were getting killed around the town and logging camps in addition to those taken by hunters. Based on their “assumption” of density and reproductive rate it seemed like it might be excessive, so hunting was restricted when documented non-hunting mortality rose above some base level. They started a research project, using mainly radio collars (before snagging DNA hair samples came into practice). Just flying around the limited alpine areas near the tops of a few mountains on that corner of the island and darting from a helicopter, they quickly collared 52 bears and as I recall only re-sighted a couple of them during that effort. They were pretty well amazed at how many bears there were. Also, they were found to get considerably larger (up to around 1,000 lbs.) than the ones they had studied on Admiralty Island where bears much over 600 lbs. were rare.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        I understand your comment if it is in regards to people that irresponsibly allow their pets (dogs) to run amuck in the backcountry. Personally, my two dogs are well-trained, do not chase wildlife, and are friendly to other people. They sleep in the tent at night and are not allowed to run loose. As far as seeing other animals, I’ve seen plenty of wolves, coyotes, bobcats, and this summer, grizzly bears while hiking with the dogs. I’ve always encountered plenty of the hoofed variety in addition. My “no regard for other users” comment is in reference to Idaho’s lack of meaningful setbacks from trails, which until this year allowed traps to be placed in and across trails (snare poles). A warden told me it’s five feet now. To me, that is not regarding other peoples use of public trails. Plus, why should I restrict my dogs and my enjoyment so that a trapper can profit off wildlife? The trapper could be required to keep his her traps off public trails.

        • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

          IDhiker —
          On the trail (or within 5 feet) is certainly a bit close and would make it tough to avoid with a dog. On the Juneau road system, trapping is closed within 1/2 mile of all public roads and was closed within 1/4 mile of a number of major hiking trails. There were frequent proposals for closures around the remaining trails and finally the Board of Game put the 1/4 mile buffer around virtually all established trails, but with an exception allowing for small lethal conibear traps (less than 5” across) set at least 5 feet above ground and snow at least 50 yards from all trails. That still allows trappers to target the most valuable animal (marten) with the most humane method in a way that makes it virtually impossible to catch a dog, and at least nobody has to worry about their dog stepping in a foothold or (far worse) sticking its head in a lethal 330 conibear within 1/4 mile of a trail. In this terrain, most people would probably never notice a marten trap set 50 yards from a trail. All traps in this area are also required to have a tag identifying who set it. Anyway, it sounds like William’s comment about most-liberal trapping regulations doesn’t apply to this particular part of Alaska.

          • avatar CodyCoyote says:

            A couple years ago in late spring , a Wyoming Game and Fish biologist from Cody went solo backpacking over the weekend on Eagle Creek , a major trib of the Shoshone River just outside the east boundary of Yellowstone Park, and took his black labrador dog with him.

            Nine miles in at the meadows he started setting up camp. The dog was out sniffing and snooping about, doing what dogs do, very close to the campsite while master was setting up the tent.

            A pack of wolves summarily killed the dog, in about as much time as it took you to read this much. They came out of ‘nowhere’ and were quiet until they attacked, and promptly left.

            Game and Fish biologist.

            Make of this story what you will…

          • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

            The moral? . . . . I guess if you want your best friend to be safe hiking with you off-leash in the Rockies, take him back 17 years in time . . . . . . to Colorado. Even a leash is not 100%. A woman walking with her lab on the Butze Rapids trail on the edge of Prince Rupert had her dog killed right on the leash while she was holding the other end. Same thing . . . . . they appeared suddenly and silently.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Cody Coyote,

            I always loved Eagle Creek Meadows. I got treed by two moose there, however. I almost got my tent swept away by a cloudburst in appropriately named “Cloudburst Creek.”

            It is very deep in the Washakie Wilderness next to Yellowstone Park.

            Wolves killing a dog there? Hell of a sorry thing. We should pacify the place and turn it into a nice safe park. 🙁

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            I appreciate your comments regarding trap setbacks from trails. In Montana, it is 50 feet, which while still quite close, is certainly better than Idaho.

            I am perhaps more sensitive to this issue because I have had dogs in both a leghold and large conibear. I was luckier than heck that the dog in the conibear survived, especially since I had never seen a conibear and had to figure out how to release it under stress. I believe the dog was not killed because the trap closed on the sides of it’s neck, rather than the throat, which probably would have crushed it’s windpipe, and probably broke it’s neck, too.

            On the Salmon River trail in Idaho during the winter, contrary to what Mark G. implies, I can guarantee you will encounter traps and snares on the trail, at least it’s been that way the last several years. The same was the case for the Middle Fork Salmon River, where a trapper, “DL”, trapped along the trail and blocked pack bridges with his snares and traps. Thankfully, I’ve heard that “DL” is now retired from the Middle Fork.

            Of course, since this is USFS land, it is illegal under two Federal statutes to so place your traps. But, when contacted, the USFS made it quite clear that they would defer to the IDFG. IDFG consistently refused to act until recently, as I understand from my conversations with a warden, when they began to receive too many complaints from other forest users.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            My wife and I have encountered numerous wolves with our dogs deep in the Frank Church.

            It is the responsibility of the dog owner to keep their pets safe. Keep the dogs close, have them sleep in the tent with you at night, and have a means to defend them if attacked at close range unexpectedly as some of you have described.

            Even so, there is still a risk that must be accepted. We should never “pacify” the wilderness for either dog or human safety from wilderness animals. Seemingly, there are many people that do not agree with this, especially in idaho.

          • avatar WM says:


            What is your “means of defense” if your dogs are attacked by, say a pack of 6-8 wolves?

            And, have you accepted in your own mind that as a result of an attck one or both of your dogs(you do not mention their breed and whether they are neutered) might be killed or severely injured in seconds?

            I sense you have been very lucky,and maybe even smart in how you handle your animals, but nonetheless tempting fate in a negative risk enriched environment.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            I appreciate your comment. |I take all the precautions I can in regards to wolves and dogs. I believe I am realistic about this hazard, and not a “romantic” about nature and wild animals. Personally, I think I can say without being swell-headed, that I am an expert with firearms, and always carry one in the woods, even when not in wolf country. No preparation can cover every possible scenario, but I believe I have covered the most likely possibilities. As I said on another post, we have to accept some risk in the wilderness, whether with or without dogs.

          • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

            IDhiker –
            My hat’s off to you for being able to get a big conibear off and keep your dog alive. Very few would be able to release a double spring 330. There was an incident in a nearby town a few years ago where two families who were friends testified on opposite sides of trapping buffers around a local trail and later that winter the ones who were against happened by a wolverine set made by the other family, and their dog didn’t make it. Wolverine sets are commonly made placing a 330 in a plastic milk box wired to a tree at perfect height for a dog to reach in to investigate the inviting smell of the bait at the back. It’s pretty much guaranteed to attract and kill any dog that finds it. You did very well and those things should never be remotely near any trail.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            Thank you. You know, I think some of it was adenaline, as later when I tried to open one of these traps, I couldn’t do it. Now I carry a large belt and have thoroughly practiced it’s use to open one of these. This particular trap was about ten feet off a popular trail.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            Thank you. You know, I think some of it was adrenaline, as later when I tried to open one of these traps, I couldn’t do it. Now I carry a large belt and have thoroughly practiced it’s use to open one of these. This particular trap was about ten feet off a popular trail.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Oops! I’m a computer illiterate. I meant only the second of these two entries to go on with the correct spelling of adrenaline.

          • avatar WM says:


            I get the risk acceptance part of dogs in wilderness where wolves are present, as well as the risk mitigation you expect to deploy.

            Depending on whether wolves are ESA listed or not, you are still voluntarily creating a situation, by entering wolf habitat with animals they view as competition and are genetically predisposed to eliminate. Although you have been fortunate to date, there may come a time when you do, in fact, need to kill wolves to protect your property (your dogs). Certainly, that won’t sit well with some here (I don’t happen to be among them, though for other reasons I don’t particularly like dogs in designated Wilderness). And, I am also relieved you didn’t say you were going to protect your dogs from wolves with pepper spray. LOL.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            I understand your points and they are good ones. In the end, it is a calculated risk that I am willing to take and accept.

  59. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    “Putting the pinch on illegal crabbers”

    This article highlights the frequency of illegal harvest of Dungeness in the Puget Sound by tribal and non-tribal crabbers.

    I think some crabbers have the attitude that taking extra crab won’t make a difference. I went crabbing in the Saratoga Passage outside of Langley last weekend, and the sheer number of pots that were out here and there is enough to convince me that illegal harvest can absolutely have a negative effect of crab populations over time.

  60. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Bitterroot man shoots 2 wolves on property
    “Since wolves are the relative newcomer in the local predator world, people are still learning about how they will operate in places like the Bitterroot.”
    Would it make any difference?

    • avatar WM says:

      Well, if this rancher is telling the truth, it would appear some wolves are not as wary is thought to be the case, when an easy meal is near. Gotta wonder if the family’s Australian shepherd had gone out the door, if it would have been a casualty.

      And for the doubters, this is the exact kind of thing, behavioral ecologist Dr. Geist witnessed on Vancouver Island. The wolf sees things aren’t quite right (looks at the rancher and continues what it was doing anyway). So much for the deterrent thing.

      Wolf advocates better get used to this stuff, because it will continue to happen. The landowner acted according to the law. That is what bothers me about the WA wolf management plan. Those state staffers that drafted the plan completely ignored what will likely be alot of encounters like this where human density is greater in WA at the fringe of wolf habitat, and an easy meal is within reach, and will more likely be a horse, llama or somebody’s pet goats than cattle or sheep.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:


        The places where there is the most conflict between wolves and people in Idaho is not the wolf inhabited country where the population of people is the highest, it is the place where the political attitudes are the most “conservative.” I don’t think the higher density of people in WA state will make much difference in conflict level. Human/wolf conflict is mostly not due to objective incompatibilities. It is due to attitudes generated by previous socialization and interaction among local people. Anti-wolf political activity is not because wolves are like terminates, mice, or leafy spurge. Anti-wolf is like when a people hate other people because of their religion, race, etc.

  61. avatar JEFF E says:

    Now this is interesting.

    Much more than watching Mark G. desperately trying to deflect the reality of the upcoming sanctioned puppy killing season in two of Idaho’s wolf zones, to the point of taking the(losing)argument to a thread that historically he has never,or rarely, posted on.

    I suppose no one realizes that what Mark posts is mostly the result of focused strategy sessions within IDFG.

    If I am wrong then I am wrong, but here is a litmus test question.

    Do you participate in any type of strategy sessions pertaining to your posting here or do you have carte blanche as to what you post from the commission and/or Clem?

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Jeff E,
      You aren’t the first nor likely will be the last to speculate or assume that my partication in these blog discussions is a IDFG or State of Idaho strategy to somehow manipulate public perception. Short answer is no, I do not review or discuss my comments and responses with any other IDFG or state government staff. I do on occasion share what I have posted, to keep IDFG staff and supervisors advised on these issues and what I post – on behalf of the IDFG and State of Idaho. My comments, on behalf of the IDFG, are my own, sometimes with consultation from my staff or other Department specialtists to ensure that I get the facts correct. I have never been re-directed, or given “talking points” to articulate in these discussions. I have declined to comment on issues that are part of on-going legal proceedings, on advice of our legal counsel. That has been the extent of my “guidance” in our blog discussions.
      My participation in this blog was my suggestion, to my supervisor in 2009 that it would be constructive and helpful to the Department and the public we serve to engage in discussions of wildlife management topics that are relevant to IDFG programs and policies – for the purpose of correcting misinformation and mischaracterizations of the same. My participation here was approved on that basis and since then, I have had very minimal interaction or conversations with other IDFG personnel or administrators regarding my participation. A final comment: my participation here has never been intended to change anyone’s opinions or position on the issues we discuss. I have no desire to do so, nor am I unrealistic enough to think that I could change the passionate opinions articulated in these threads. I try to give these issues my best effort for explaining IDFG and Idaho Fish and Game Commission programs, policies and decisions and let the chips fall where they may. Thanks for raising the issue Jeff – sincerely.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        But ultimately, Mark, it would be very difficult for you to express a personal opinion if it differed greatly from the official IDFG / Commission position.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          IDhiker – good point. With respect to wildlife policy, management plans, mangement actions it isn’t my place or purpose to provide my personal opinion. I’m here to speak, as a representative of the IDFG and Fish and Game Commission, on those policies, programs, plans and actions. If there is a general wildlife related topic, outside of state policy and programs I sometimes offer my personal observations. Other than that, if would be very inappropriate for me to present my personal opinions as state policy.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            I imagine that it must be uncomfortable to “follow the party line” in some instances. Because, like the rest of us, you must have differing opinions from your department’s, at least sometimes. I’ve been in and am currently in a situation similar to yours. We all have our own views, but sometimes we have to keep our mouths shut in public.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            On another topic, have you been down the Salmon River lately to experience the two new rapids by Alder and Black Creeks? Pretty good whitewater, enough that the jetboats for the most part, have been stopped, especially at Black Creek.

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        although it may not seem like it my issue(s)are not with you personally but with the state and the way that policy is decided/implemented. Unfortunately in sustaining those policy decisions you get to be the focal point.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Jeff E,
          I appreciate the distinction and I don’t take yours or others comments personally.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            Unfortunately Mark, when you make comments like this:

            +I think you will see that I try to emphasize that while yours and others perspectives/disires/values are valid, legitimate, important+

            DRUM ROLL PLEASE……..

            +that does not guarantee that your preferences will be chosen as the most balanced and appropriate management solution to a given wildlife management challenge+

            You lose credibility, because one only has to live out here in the west to realize who the chosen few are when it comes to “balanced & appropriate” management.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Nancy – chosen few or solid majority? You live in Montana, southwest Montana. With years of living in the state, I’m sure you know Montana better than I. Have you than concluded that your views, values, and preferences for wolf management characterizes the preferences of a majority of Montanan’s?; southwest Montanan’s? the residents of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho?

  62. avatar Jerry Black says:

    Ralph…the Bitterroot Valley is a great example of this. I lived there when I first moved to Montana from Washington State. I’ve never experienced such hate, distrust and close-mindedness and I’ve seen and lived in a good number of places in various parts of the world. I felt much more comfortable walking the streets of New York, Saigon, Bangkok etc than walking around Stevensville, Mt. They hate Blacks, Jews, Native Americans, Latinos….everyone seems to threaten their way of life including their own neighbors. They shoot and poison neighbor dogs, cats, and anything else that has 4 legs and they perceive as a threat to their cows or sheep.
    I was involved in some stream restoration because cows had destroyed riparian areas, banks and spawning areas….was threatened and more or less run out of town.
    Like you said….it’s really not about wolves.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Jerry Black,

      I think it is a classic example. Either that or wolves just know when people are full of bigotry and, as a result, they menace them. Not likely!

      I’ve never heard a progressive person say they had been just about attacked by wolves, but among right-wingers these reports come in all the time. It would be a good study for JB to see if I am correct or speaking from my own bias — to see if reports of near wolf attacks and/or reported problems with wolves is associated with personal political ideology.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Earlier this summer I was visiting my parents who live near Stevensville. While Mom and I were talking in her kitchen, we looked out the window and discovered a large wolf just outside her back yard, about 50 yards away. I ran outside and yelled something at the wolf such as, “What the h— are you doing here?” It took one look at me and ran off through the field. They report that it has not been back in the last two months, at least they haven’t seen it or heard howling. If we were typical “Rooters” we would have shot it for “threatening” us.

        • avatar Jerry Black says:

          And it’s not only about wolves. I found out the hard way …you don’t stand up at a meeting and suggest they fence part of the restored stream corridor, so their cows don’t eat and trample the newly planted willow and dogwood, or the high nitrate levels in the stream could be from the cow shit.
          My son coached football for one year in Florence. I couldn’t believe the conversations that went on in the bleachers (they didn’t know who I was) amongst the parents about wolves, gays, terrorists invading the valley…… being on another planet.

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        My folks lived for many years in Hamilton and I have to say during my time there I never experienced any of that perspective, although it may have just been mainly the people they dealt with. I found all the people there just plain friendly, helpful and honest — including later when I had to deal with their affairs with many people from the attorney to nursing home staff to the mortician and many others. Of course, that didn’t say anything about their views on wildlife and a reading of the paper indicates plenty of crime in the valley. Still, I have generally found I like Montanans. They tend to be conservative but not wear their “culture” on their sleeve quite so much as in some of the other western states, and appreciate the outdoors. The apparent benefits have been having a reasonable balanced state budget, not bending over quite as much as neighboring states for resource extractors (nor extremist groups like the Montana Freemen), better public access to streams, establishing a more reasonable wolf management plan with less theatrics, etc. I hope things are not changing too much for the worse along with much of the rest of the country — or maybe what I saw was a façade that didn’t go very deep, and even growing up I was certainly aware of a number of unfriendly, lawless, hillbilly poacher types scattered about.

        I know of at least four ADF&G retirees living between Stevensville and Darby, and they seem to be happy in the Bitterroot. I’d miss the ocean.

        • Seak and Jerry,

          I got the impression that the change in the political character of the Bitterroot Valley came with the influx of new residents.

          They were almost all of one ethnic group and from conservative places like Orange County, CA (which was changing to a more diverse place and making old residents unhappy in many cases)

      • avatar Maska says:

        Ralph, I think there probably is such a correlation, however, I don’t think it’s because wolves “menace” people with right-wing and/or anti-wolf views. I suspect it’s primarily a case of differing perceptions of similar events between those with varying outlooks on life.

        If a wolf stops to look my way, my assumption is that it is curious and will move on once its curiosity is satisfied. So far, that exactly what has happened in every case (at least 16 separate encounters). Those who are anti-wolf would likely perceive the same incidents as demonstrating hostile intent on the part of the wolves. The latter are much more likely to report such an encounter as a near wolf attack than someone who doesn’t perceive wolves as threatening. Or to put it more simply: threat is most often in the eye of the beholder.

  63. avatar Jerry Black says:

    Seak…I assume you’re working for ADFG. Ever work with John Matthews? He’s living near Ovando in the Blackfoot. Check out his invention.

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      He was here with Game Division (now Wildlife Conservation) when I arrived in Southeast, and transferred to Anchorage or thereabouts around the mid-1980s. I remember while here, he (along with John Schoen and Matt Kirchhoff, now both with Audubon Alaska) did the very important scientific work of investigating the long-term effects of clear-cut logging on wildlife in this area that may have seemed hopeless at the time but ended up being a very important contribution to saving a lot of important habitat. One memory stands out: It struck him as uproariously funny when a young Commercial Fisheries biologist reported seeing moose tracks while walking a salmon stream on Chichagof Island. Must have been one huge blacktail! It did seem like a stretch, with moose having just colonized the mouth of Glacier Bay by the mid-1960s and Icy Strait being an extensive water body with strong currents and other dangers (years later, a couple of moose were observed taken by killer whales in the strait). After eliciting gut-splitting laughter, the poor guy’s ego was considerably deflated, but he was vindicated before long by moose sighting reports from credible witnesses that eventually encompassed enough area and frequency to clearly indicate multiple moose on NE Chichagof. There still are today.

      That’s a pretty cool contraption!

      • avatar Jerry Black says:

        Seak……he’s quite a character. Rides that thing around the Saturday Market here in Missoula each week. I’ve driven it and it is sweet in either electric assist or peddling. He’s awaiting the patent approval.

  64. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    Article talking about wolf tourism opportunities with the new Teanaway Pack:

    “Wolves are part of attraction of Teanaway River”

  65. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Can Minnesota moose be saved ?

    Here we go again. An article that spells out a moose dilemma which includes wolves, and comments focus on wolves. Clear cutting in MN also increases deer habitat. It has long been known about brain worm in moose vectored by deer.

    I know folks grow weary of Isle Royale comparisons, but wolves have been there for 50 years and the moose have not disappeared. Two variables on Isle Royale, not on entire moose range in N MN: no deer/no brain worm; moderating effect of Lake Superior on weather. Perhaps a tad warmer during the Winter, but cooler during the Summer. No hunting on Isle Royale cancels out the low impact of hunting moose on the mainland. Temperature? Deer?

  66. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    DOI Sec. Ken Salazar drops in on Jackson Hole WY one day before the public meeting on the warped Wyoming Draft Wolf Management Plan there , on short notice. Coincidence ?

  67. avatar Leslie says:

    NY Times article on Lake Trout implanted with radio transmitters in Yellowstone

    • avatar willam huard says:

      Wow, now all the locals need to do is find the den site, throw in a grenade, and it’s mission accomplished! No one will ever know that a wolf pack family was exterminated!

  68. avatar Nancy says:

    +Have you than concluded that your views, values, and preferences for wolf management characterizes the preferences of a majority of Montanan’s?; southwest Montanan’s? the residents of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho?+

    Mark – I’ve concluded that the “ole boy” network is alive and well in the west, regardless of how anyone else might feel.

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Just returned from a trip. Yes, I understand that you aren’t satisfied with how your wildlife management preferences are accomodated. But, do you believe that your values and preferences for – wolf management – would meet the needs and desires of the majority of your fellow Montana residents?

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Yes, I do Mark.

        A statement I probably wouldn’t of made 25 years but the landscape and the populations have changed greatly, along with attitudes when it comes to wildlife and their important role in the ecosystem.

        Fewer and fewer people hunt, or raise livestock but agencies (like yours) are still geared towards expensive, lethal forms of control (management) of wildlife to satisfy those shrinking numbers, instead of looking to the future and realizing the numbers are growing when it comes to people who truely enjoy catching a glimpse of all forms of wildlife, in what’s left of their natural habitat.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:


          Well said.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jeff E, Immer your questions are fair. Immer, I do respect yours and others opinions on a multitude of aspects of the wolf management challenge. Regarding Wyoming’s plan, my comments are were specifically directed to the State of Wyoming’s responsibility to understand Wyoming residents desires for wildlife management, within the bounds of sound wildlife conservation. The Wyoming plan will conserve wolves in the state at a level consistent with the ESA and the priorities of the State of Wyoming.

            JB – I do not know of similar Idaho data. My comments on public support, strong or otherwise, of Idaho wolf management is, of course, my own opinion, based on my professional experience.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Thanks Nancy. I am not a Montana resident, though I closely follow Montana wildlife and political issues. So, my comments are based on my own years of personal observations. That said, I doubt that your views on wildlife or wolf management typify the average Montanan. I could be wrong. To know with certainty how your views and values match average Montana views and values requires appropriate survey data that might exist, but isn’t in front of us right now. Just the same, I’ll go out on a short limb and say, that like Idaho or Wyoming, your preferences for wolf management don’t come close to satisfying the needs, expectations or desires of Montanans as a population. If that is the case, then your complaints that:
          “….. one only has to live out here in the west to realize who the chosen few are when it comes to “balanced & appropriate” management” and “ I’ve concluded that the “ole boy” network is alive and well in the west, regardless of how anyone else might feel.”

          – might be fairly described to be a case of sour grapes rather than justified indignation that your preferences and views are not given attention and more importantly, appropriate weight in wildlife management policy formulation and decision making. Which goes to my original question to you; is this a case of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission constituting a “chosen few” or is it a good example of the Commission fulfilling a difficult responsibility, by representing the wishes of the majority of Montana residents with balanced and appropriate wildlife conservation policy and management decisions?

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            Might some of those expectations of Montana, Idaho,and Wyoming populations be based upon tired stereotypes and fairy tales about wolves, that simply are not true. I’m not saying that some wolves don’t get in trouble, but when you have brought up the elitist attitude, does this not also apply to those of the extreme anti-wolf crowd, who play to and pander to the fears of people who know little about wolves, and or have enough problems of their own and just don’t care.

            Perhaps IDGF might heed Nancy’s advice, +++looking to the future and realizing the numbers are growing when it comes to people who truely enjoy catching a glimpse of all forms of wildlife, in what’s left of their natural habitat.+++ There is none of this in Idaho’s plan, and for Wyoming whoosh.

            Education would seem to have much greater worth than misinformation.

            Again, this is not meant as anti-hunting, but you are quite aware from our past dialog that, in my opinion, the NRM states wolf programs are profoundly backward and reactionary.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Education, public dialog, mutual understanding of public perspectives is essential for good policy and effective government. And yes, there are plenty of examples of extremism on both poles of this wildlife management challenge.
            The community of wildlife managers well understands the social and demographic trend in our county and states – of detachment from the land and our agrarian roots and the diversifying of perspectives and desires for wildlife managment that comes with it. I suggest that the Montana, Idaho and Wyoming wolf management plans take that into account and do provide a balance of wildlife benefits for the residents of each state, consistent with the changing perspectives and desires of each state population.

          • avatar jon says:

            Mark, from what I was told, wolf pups don’t start hunting with their pack until 7-8 months after they are born.

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            you have recently been pontificating about what the majority of this state or that state wants in regards to wolf management but offer no data to back up that position……or do you just presume to speak for this supposed majority?

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jeff E,
            No, I am suggesting that the wildlife management policies and plans of western states (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming in this thread) do in fact represent the needs, expectations and desires of the residents of those states, as a population, contrary to some have suggested in this thread. I do not suggest that ALL western state residents (you for example) are in agreement with important elements of those policies and programs. Accomodating and satisfying the desires of all stakeholders for polarized management challenges such as wolf management is not possible. It is possible to achieve a balance of diverse expectations, which I am suggesting has been accomplished with each state management plan. Wolves WILL be conserved for future generations; wolf viewing opportunities WILL be provided (albeit not at a level that satisfies many in this discussion); ecological integrity IS preserved with these management plans. My main point in this thread is that contrary to Nancy’s assertion that Montana’s (or Idaho’s or Wyoming’s) wolf management plan and planned wolf hunt being an example of “good ‘ol boy” vested interest driven wildlife management – contrary to the public interest, desires, expectations – it is precisely the opposite. It (as does the Idaho and Wyoming plans and hunts) responsibly address the needs, expectations and desires of the preponderance of residents of each respective state.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            We can agree to disagree about Idaho’s plan, but Wyoming’s as responsible? If it’s summation began with other re words such as repressive, repugnant, repulsive in terms of wolf management, it would be closer to the mark. Again, my opinion.

          • avatar JB says:

            Immer et al.

            Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah have all conducted relatively recent on wolves. To my knowledge, only our survey of Utahans was published. I am fairly comfortable stating that the policies adopted by Utah regarding wolves are not at all representative of the general public. I would go out on a limb and suggest that they may not even be representative of the hunting population (at least when compared with our data).

            Adrian Treves (at Wisconsin) conducted a survey of NRM states in 2007; you can see the report of their data here:


            Unfortunately, the survey is biased fairly heavily toward hunters (42% reported having hunted in the past two years). Also of note, 11% indicated that livestock production is a “major source of income”. Nevertheless, there is some interesting data here.

            A few findings that seem relevant to the conversation…

            *More than 1/2 of respondents supported lethal removal of wolves and grizzles from PRIVATE lands.

            *When asked how managers should proceed “If a wolf kills or injures livestock on public land”…
            23% = take no action
            30% = capture and relocate the wolf
            13% = frighten wolf away
            35% = kill the wolf

            *When asked what should be done “If a wolf kills or injures livestock on private land”
            8% = Take no action
            37% = Capture and relocate
            7% = frighten wolf away
            49% = kill the wolf

            *If a public hunting season were planned, which rules would you support? (Note, respondents could check more than one)
            13% = Oppose all hunting of wolves
            16% = Hunt only individuals that caused property damage
            16% = No hunting of breeding females
            29% = No hunting with traps or bait
            25% = No hunting with dogs
            6% = No hunting on public lands
            11% = Hunting every other year or less often
            31% = Hunting by state residents only
            33% = Oppose any restrictions
            *Reminder – 42% of this sample were hunters.

            Any thoughts?

          • avatar JB says:

            I hasten to add, they did not stratify hunters/non-hunters in their report, so we can’t make many of the comparisons I suspect you all are wondering about.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Hunting wolves with dogs. Interesting as the quarry will fight back. Cool to see a wolf pack wipe out a group of dogs. If you are going to play, be prepared to pay. Interesting to see if cognizant ability of wolves would lead dogs into area of traps. Just thinking aloud.

            Other thoughts… majority in all cases not in favor of killing wolves.

            Another thought, quotas or no quotas, how would that have shifted results?

          • avatar Nancy says:

            Sour grapes Mark?

            {Denial of the desirability of something after one has found out that it cannot be reached or acquired: The losers’ scorn for the award is pure sour grapes.}

            Is that your personal opinion Mark, regarding anyone who doesn’t agree with you? Or your professional opinion, given the federal agency you work for?

            The numbers are crunched and displayed often on this site (because they are available BY agencies like yours) when it comes to wolf depredations on livestock. And, they are incredibly low numbers given the fact that Idaho claims to have a wolf population close to 1,000. From the information available, elk numbers are not suffering in your state or mine. But, one does have to work alittle harder at finding one. Wolves kill elk to survive, humans kill elk to add to the larder or worse….. add to the wall.

            Wolves will be hunted down and killed to satisfy a few…. you know it, I know it and many other people (especially here) know it.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Yes, “sour grapes” – in the sense of “denial of the desireability of current Montana wolf management priorities and objectives becuase your preferences are not embraced in the same” – is an apt if blunt description of your complaint that your preferences for wildlife (wolf) management are not embraced and adopted by the Montana Wildlife and Parks Commission. I mean no disrespect, though I understand that blunt assessments of uncomfortable reality can be frustrating.
            You complained about wildlife management in your state – Montana – as an example of “good ‘ole boy” politics, implying that yours and others veiws and preferences are inappropriately not heard or ignored in favor of other preferences that don’t serve Montana public desires. My point was/is – that is very unlikely given my understanding of Monana wildife management values and desires. I explained that contrary to your assertion, Montana wolf management policies and priorities are consistent with the desires of Montanans as a state population and therefore your preferences don’t prevail BECAUSE those views don’t best serve your fellow Montana residents. Elk, a Montana resident, agrees, though with a more tempered assessment of public support for the 2011-2012 Montana wolf hunt we are discussing. Montana does differ from Idaho and Wyoming in important ways politically and socially.
            The impact of wolf depredations on public resources (elk e.g.) and private proprty (livestock e.g.) are indeed debated and contested. Those policy issues will be decided by the residents of each state and their elected leaders, so long as wolves are managed responsibly to ensure that viable, sustainable populations are conserved for future generations.

            “From the information available, elk numbers are not suffering in your state or mine. But, one does have to work alittle harder at finding one. Wolves kill elk to survive, humans kill elk to add to the larder or worse….. add to the wall.”

            Quite wrong to say that elk numbers are not suffering in Idaho or Montana. Wolf predation of elk is profoundly affecting elk numbers in Idaho’s Lolo Zone and Sawtooth Zone – requiring dramatic reductions in elk hunting opportunity. Montana is experiencing similar effects of wolf predation on important elk herds. Those public wildlife resource losses are painful to many Idaho and Montana residents and constitute ample justification for wolf management policies and priorities. Those policies – to manage Idaho, Montana, Wyoming wolf populations at lower numbers to achieve a balance of wildlife management objectives is a good example of wildlife management working the way is supposed to work – conserving the public wildlife legacy while serving the needs of state stakeholders – NOT a select few. BTW, I work for a state, not federal, agency.

          • avatar Tim says:

            Mark and Nancy,
            The panhandle zone is also being affected. Units 7 and 9 which are adjacent to the lolo zone are also seeing a drop in elk nunbers. this area has a lot of timber property so Habitat loss to dense forests isn’t an issue here. The only change in this region is wolves and now the loss of cow elk seasons plus shorter bull seasons. Even with a wolf hunting season this area could be a strong hold for wolves for ever. It is a long ways from most towns and people just cant access a lot of this region most of the year. One thing that has been itching in my brain and maybe you can answer this for me Mark. If elk numbers are dropping does that mean mule deer numbers are on the rise in those areas? Could be why there are still a good number of wolves in the lolo.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            I didn’t include the Panhandle elk herds because we don’t have the same cause and effect relationship (wolf predation – elk production/recruitment decline) documentation that we have for the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones – i.e radio-telemetry based confirmed predation of calf and cow elk on a watershed/population level. I was however, thinking of the Panhandle as one of several other large geographical areas of the state where evidence is accumlating that wolf predation is similarly affecting elk production and recruitment to the detriment of other highly valued wildlife resources.
            The potential for mule deer benefitting from reductions in elk numbers is still uncertain. Recent research Idaho State University graduate students, sponsored by the IDFG, found that interaction between the two species is most important on winter range and then under more stessful winter conditions than normal. Several independent studies have shown that mule deer choose to be where elk are not – to the extend that mule deer will choose to remain in the proximity of human activity, seemingly BECAUSE as a rule, elk avoid human activity. To my knowledge, the sum of research on the relationship between elk productivity and mule deer productivity doen’t support a prediction that if elk numbers are signficantly reduced mule deer will respond with high productivity. Mule deer appear to be influenced by a variety of sublte and not-so-subtle factors. We may determine with more research that elk play a subtle role, but other factors like the quality of fawning, summer, transition and winter habitat are very important. Again, recent research has shown that fawning, summer and transition habitat is at least equally important to first winter survival of mule deer fawns – than is winter range habitat. We also know that from the perspective of hunting management – the expansion of motorized access to remote areas that only 25 years ago required pack animals or arduous hiking to gain access to – significantly increases the vulnerability of mule deer to hunting exploitation. This is more a limitation on the quantity and quality of mule deer hunting opportunity than an environmental limitation on mule deer production and recruitment, but a very large challenge for wildlife managers and the outdoor recreational public.

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            you’re making George Orwell proud!
            good job

  69. avatar Cindy says:

    Wish us luck tonight! I’m so curious how the meeting will flow, it is after all in Teton County. We tend to have different views and values then other parts of the state, although we also sport some of the loudest anti wolf voices as well. I’m sure we’ll get an ear full over the Gros Ventre elk herd.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:


      I’ll be with you in Spirit!

    • avatar jon says:

      Cindy, do you know if any environmental organizations will be attending any of these meetings? Let them know that wolves should not be treated like vermin.

  70. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    Article on the explosive growth of the Bakken.

    “Unemployed? Go to North Dakota”

  71. avatar Cindy says:

    Yes, we have excellent groups located here in Teton County and their representatives are the bomb on handling these meetings. Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Defender’s of Wildlife has issued a call to their members as well. These folks have been working tirelessly for years and we need to all support them!

  72. avatar Jerry Black says:

    Elwah River Hatchery to Hurt Recovery
    WM…..I know you’ll comment on this as you’ve been there, as I have, and are aware of the potential of this river system. Yes, I’m very disappointed in the Native Americans.

    • avatar WM says:


      The raw potential of the Elwha River, over time, for again becoming a powerhouse for huge Chinook salmon in large numbers is impressive.

      It is an awesome and beautiful river. There are other important native runs, such as the chum, pink, lamprey, and summer and winter steelhead, for which native recovery is desired, and consistent with the preservation objectives of the headwaters within Olympic National Park.

      Maybe things will come together with the tribe’s hatchery role in cooperation with all the federal agencies involved (which paid for the hatchery from your tax dollars), as they try to simultaneously keep hatchery and protected wild stocks in the recovery mix for this long and costly restoration/conservation program. It really is one big, and very long experiment.

      Here, however, are the realities of why the hatchery fish are front and center with hopes of quickly repopulating the river with salmon and steelhead. The Lower Elwha Klallam people are not a wealthy tribe (about 130 living on the reservation and about 800 enrolled members). They have a small casino operation that was not well thought out or financed. I would be surprised if it generates enough revenue to cover debt service obligations for construction. It is not destination resort (no fancy hotel, in fact no hotel at all), poorly advertised, and it is located down a long road to near the mouth of the river. It does not serve alcohol, has no restaurant, and only a small deli. They have a nice medical/dental clinic(paid for from federal dollars) along Hiway 101, but on reservation job prospects for tribal members are few. The hatchery operation employs a few. So these folks are just hanging on. Fish are a huge part of their diet, and significantly they sell some commercially through a tribal operation, the Elwha Fish Company (decent, but I wouldn’t call it high end smoked salmon). Subsistence and ceremonial fishing are important to their culture, religion and their very existence.

      1855 Treaty rights are the basis of the tribe’s insistence on infusing the Elwha with hatchery stock to assure a more rapid fishery development, over the objections of (elitist) wild fish purists. Awaiting full blown natural native genetic recovery will be a very long, and perhaps risky venture. The need to address the Treaty obligations and the economic realities of the Elwha tribe are real.

      I sometimes wonder whether 175 year old treaty obligations and dealing with small and often unsophisticated soveriegn entities –because that is how our historic legal obligations arise – are in the best interests of America as a whole, though we feel morally obligated to honor them. The tension continues. This is just one more example.

      And then there are the recreational fishers, and non-Indian commercial fishers that want more ocean and riverine fish production, too. Mostly, they don’t really care if the fish are native stocks.


      Footnote: The discovery of an ancient fishing village (Elwha tribal ancestors) at the west end of Port Angeles, shut down a lucrative multi-million $$$$ government contract associated with improvements to the Hood Canal floating bridge, that would have given the community an economic shot in the arm in about 2005. It is hard to know how close Port Angeles residents and the Elwha tribe are as neighbors these days.

  73. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    Read this article last night and was also disappointed. It sounds like the tribe wants instant gratification now that the damns are finally coming down and the treaty rights to make it happen.

    It might end up being a missed opportunity to observe how well the native salmon runs could restore themselves over time.

    Fly-fishing as a kid, I caught some of the fattest trout on the Elwha. I wish I could go back and see what the river was like before the damns. I believe the stories about the 100 lb Chinooks.

  74. avatar Salle says:

    Wyoming U.S. Rep. Lummis: Groups give environmental movement ‘a black eye’

    Speaking at the Petroleum Association of Wyoming’s annual meeting in Casper, Lummis singled out WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project.

    Lummis and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., have introduced legislation that would cap attorneys’ fees and block groups whose net worth exceeds $7 million from filing for payment under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which reimburses attorney’s fees and costs associated with suing the federal government.

  75. One of my “friends” on facebook posted this commercial:

    To all of my hunting friends . .if you let them portray you like this on TV you will lose your weapons. I can’t believe they put this up making it look “cool” to do a sound shot.

    All hunters should be outraged by this.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      I don’t know Linda, I chuckled when I watched it. Hope this doesn’t make me anti-cricket or anti-frog.

    • avatar WM says:


      I got a laugh out of it, just as Immer. I have never seen it on TV. But, certainly can see your point. Sure dumbs down the macho boys in ball caps and camo.

      My difficulty is with Dodge products generally and their advertising. They don’t see an oil crisis, and don’t really give a rip about how unenvironmentally friendly many of their products are. Do you really need a 5.7 liter Hemi engine. They have had a couple Bubba commercials for that, too. Ever notice their trucks are most always red, even most cars in their ads? Ram Tough – appeals to a certain segment of the market, apparently.

      Same folks that eat beef – Western actor, Sam Elliott (Texan), the narrator, also does the “Beef, its what’s for dinner” commerials.

      Ya never know, that cricket could have brought him good luck.

      • avatar Daniel Berg says:


        I had a 1994 RED Dodge Ram 1500 with a 318 in high school. At the time, I thought it didn’t get much cooler than that. Gas also hit $0.99/gallon during my senior year.

        Now you have me wondering whether the red color was somehow appealing to my inner hillbilly…..

      • avatar Ryan says:

        Actually the Rams get pretty good gas mileage for a full size truck.

        BTW, I drive a full size ford and use it all the time to tow my jet boat and camper, something our subaru wouldn’t dream of doing.

  76. avatar Elk275 says:


    Your are reading way to much into this. No way would a major corporation allow anything like the way you are protraying the ad. I thought it was stupid, but then most ads for motorheads are dim witted with the actor always in camo.

    • avatar JB says:

      Elk, WM: Frankly, I’m outraged and disgusted by your patently false portrayal of motorheads as “dim-witted bubbas”. Being from Michigan, the home of motorheads, the motorcity, and the motorcity madman, I know a thing or two about the people who make and love trucks that may escape you westerners. They are generally a kind, quiet people (except when NASCAR or KISS is in town), who stick to themselves. Just because you don’t live here and don’t understand our culture does not give you the right to condemn our truck-loving (and cricket-hating) way of life. Shame on you! Spend some time walking…er..driving in our shoes and you may find you view things a bit differently.

      I. Rony

      • avatar ma'iingan says:

        I thought it was funny, but then I’m a pickup-driving bowhunter.

        • avatar wolf moderate says:

          I am a pu driving bowhunter also and I thought it was funny.

          I had a Ford f150 with a 302 v8 and a five speed 4×4. I couldn’t go faster than 35,mph when towing a small utility trailer with two four wheelers. Hemisphere is a necessity when hauling camp trailers and boats in the mountains. I have a dodge 2500 4×4 that averages 14.5 not. Not bad….and it will haul 3 cords of firewood like its not even there!

  77. avatar SEAK Mossback says:

    Changing life in Greenland . . . . I haven’t yet heard of a climate-change skeptic who lives in the high Arctic.

    Unlike these Greenland settlements, the one arctic coastal village I’ve spent much time around has already benefited from oil production (from Prudhoe Bay)through big dividend checks distributed by their regional native corporation, gas subsidized at $2 per gallon (when aviation gas is about $7/gallon) and and water/sewer connections that let them escape the honey bucket life about 5 years ago at a cost of $450,000 per house to install. I don’t blame them one bit for loving their new comforts, especially in that environment — when I asked an older local about the mounds in the tundra around the village, he just looked at them and shook his head “Those are our old houses”. The problem is that for all their new wealth and comfort, they are sitting more in those newer plumbed, heated, electrified homes and going out less after substistence foods (despite the encouragement of the gas subsidy) or for fuel for heat or ice for water. Less physical activity is combined with some terrible western foods. While watching stacks of cases of pop being unloaded from a communter plane, the pilot commented “You know, I never see them unloading cases of toothbrushes.” There’s some benefit in a hard, healthy life. Unfortunately, it looks like folks in Greenland are losing some of theirs before even benefiting from the fossil fuel economy that’s destroying it.

  78. avatar jon says:

    Appeals court denies request to halt Montana, Idaho wolf hunts

    Read more:

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Not what I was hoping to hear; looks like it’s back to the “stone age” in terms of NRMS mentality.

    • avatar JB says:

      It is amazing to me how little interest in–and information about poaching. If illegal harvest is equal to legal harvest, is this the work of a few “bad apple” poachers, or is poaching more pervasive? A radio telemetry study in my home state found ~10 turkeys were killed illegally for every one harvested legally. The population has still grown, because management was conservative and the habitat is good…but these are troubling numbers. And then there’s this…

      Hunters as Stewards of Wolves in Wisconsin and
      the Northern Rocky Mountains, USA

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Our three surveys did not support the assumption that hunters would steward
        wolves. We found the majority of hunters unsupportive of wolf conservation at the time
        of our surveys. Depending on which survey one considers, the hunters we sampled
        reported attitudes to hunting rules, wolf population levels, and sustainability inconsist-
        ent with Holsman’s (2000) synthesis of hunter stewardship. Likely future wolf hunters
        in our Wisconsin surveys also reported inclinations (wolf poaching) and past behaviors
        (contribution to wolf management) unsupportive of wolf conservation. Holsman (2000)
        concluded similarly, ‘‘[U.S.] hunters often hold attitudes and engage in behaviors that
        are not supportive of broad-based, ecological objectives’’ (813). However, hunter atti-
        tudes might change following participation in planning or pursuing a wolf hunt. Prior
        research suggests individual attitudes take time to change—on the order of years, if not
        generations—but we have no longitudinal studies of change in individual attitudes in
        response to wolf policy changes (Bruskotter et al. 2007; Manfredo et al. 2003; Heberlein
        and Ericsson 2005; Majic ́ and Bath 2010). In sum, governments cannot assume hunters
        will support the conservation of wolves simply because they did so in the past for other
        game (Holsman 2000; Loveridge et al. 2007).


        From the conclusion provided, one might then assume the hand wringing of the pro-wolf faction is not without just cause. In the silence prior to the storm, we all await the damage.

        • avatar Elk275 says:

          If a statewide vote was taken and the question was asked are you in favor of the state fish and game departments managing wolves or should wolves be protected. Wyoming and Idaho would vote over 65% for the state fish and game commission to manage wolves and Montana would vote over 55%, maybe more, for state management. Montana is a little more liberal and democratic than Wyoming and Idaho because of the Anaconda Mining Company and Montana Power.

          There is no way a up and down vote favoring wolves would ever pass in the three states. In Montana they could not even get the public land trapping bill on the ballot.

          For the last five years I have started to see a decrease in hunting permits in areas where there are a large number of wolves. In the very northwest corner of Montana which is hunting area 101, moose permits have gone from 60 a year to 10 this year. Wolves are NOT the cause of all of the moose decline but they have not stabilize or increased the moose population. In the Gravelly and Snowcrest Mountains 3 to 5 years ago there were an additional 1000 antlerless elk tags today those 1000 permits are no longer available. Wolves have not cause all of the 1000 permits reduction, but they are to blame for large number of reduced permits. I was not able to draw a second antlerless permit this year and I have always been able to draw a second permit. I have talked to others who have had the same luck of the draw. There are several areas where I can purchase a over the counter antlerless permit, which I will in several days. The number of hunting permits especially moose in Western Montana have been decrease.

          For those who do not like the way fish and wildlife is managed in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho. Prepare and present a voter initiative petition to the Sectary of State, get it approved, gather the needed signatures for placement on a general election ballot and let the voters vote and be willing to except the outcome.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            I am not anti-hunting in terms of wolves. I accepted in 2000’that there would be a wolf season in the NRM states. I did not expect policies that could possibly result in relisting

          • avatar jon says:

            Idaho so far has sold a little over 6000 wolf tags. in 2009, the first wolf hunt in Idaho, they sold 30,000 plus wolf tags. Can anyone explain why much less wolf tags were sold this time around?

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            There are no survey data to answer your question, but this reduced participation in wolf hunting was expected. The first year of a hunt like the 2010 wolf hunt was certain to generate a high level of interest and participation. After the first year of experience for wolf hunters with the reality of how difficult hunting wolves is, the reduced novelty of a wolf hunting season and more realistic expectations of success has contributed to much lower levels of participation. Again, not unexpected and one of the reasons why regulated wolf hunting poses no threat to wolf populations in the NRMR.

          • avatar Elk275 says:


            Two reasons: I still have not bought my elk and deer licence’s yet and will not purchase them until early October; I am going to have to purchase my bird licence and pay my hunter’s access fee next week as upland bird hunting opens September 1. Most people wait until last minute so that the benefit will be there after the immediately after purchase. Secondly, with the injunction filed against the hunt, why purchase a licence, then have to go get a refund, if the court prevented the hunt. With the hunts on, there is going to be many more licenses purchased in the coming days and as the season nears the number of licence’s purchased will increase exponentially.

          • avatar JB says:


            I’m afraid the question isn’t as simple as, “are you in favor of the state fish and game departments managing wolves”, at least for most people who have knowledge of the issue. States make many policies with respect to the management of species, some with which we agree, and some with which we disagree. These type of “blanket” questions obscure this fact, and when they are used, become carte blanche cover for wildlife commissions to do what they want. Who would’ve ever thought that wolves would make it onto the ballot multiple times in Alaska (with a strong hunting culture AND the largest wolf population in the US)–yet they have.

            – – – –

            You said:”In the Gravelly and Snowcrest Mountains 3 to 5 years ago there were an additional 1000 antlerless elk tags today those 1000 permits are no longer available. Wolves have not cause all of the 1000 permits reduction…”

            This is interesting logic. ADDITIONAL antlerless tags are offered when populations are over objective (i.e., overabundant relative to available habitat). Additional antlerless tags are generally offered in an attempt to reduce populations which, inevitably, will reduce the need to issue additional permits. So these permits are designed to go away (wolves or no wolves). Interesting that something given as a “bonus” gets characterized as a loss and blamed on wolves when it goes away. Food for thought.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            +In Montana they could not even get the public land trapping bill on the ballot+

            But I understand they came very close Elk, just 4,000 votes shy of making it on the ballot.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            “Additional antlerless tags are generally offered in an attempt to reduce populations which, inevitably, will reduce the need to issue additional permits.”
            You highlight another important point/issue that has been frequently commented on, but not adequately discussed here, in my recollection. Extra elk permits may be offered to reduce an elk population, or those “extra” permits may simply be additional harvest opportunity that wildlife managers are able to offer the public. From Elk’s perspective, and many other Montanans, this was clearly a loss of a valuable beneficial use of his/their wildlife resource. There has been a refrain, repeated many times in recent years on this blog, that somehow managing ungulate populations for hunting opportunity is artificial with more colorful descriptions sometimes added for emphasis. My point here is that management objectives for lower number of wolves to achieve higher numbers of elk for Montana, Idaho or Wyoming hunters is a valid and appropriate wildlife management objective if the wolf population is managed sustainably within the bounds desired by the residents of each respective state. The ongoing discussion of Lolo Zone elk managment is the Idaho equivalent of the same management challenge. Hunting opportunity is one of many wildlife management objectives – equally important and legitmate to the stakeholders of wildlife resources.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            My understanding of the trapping initiative was that it was underfunded and had only a few volunteers gathering signatures, and yet, failed to make the ballot by just a few thousand votes. Whether it would have passed is another story.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            …few thousand signatures, not votes.

          • avatar Elk275 says:


            ++This is interesting logic. ADDITIONAL antlerless tags are offered when populations are over objective (i.e., overabundant relative to available habitat).++

            Who determines the elk population objectives in Montana? Not the Fish, Wildlife and Parks, but the state legislator. The FW&P’s has to report to the state legislators every few years. It was the state ranching and livestock interest who decide the elk objectives in the state. One of the primary sponsors of the law was a local state legislator name Debbie Barrette. It this sound science? No but it is politics and economics. JB, it is food for thought. Maybe wolves are over there objective.


            ++ From the information available, elk numbers are not suffering in your state or mine. But, one does have to work a little harder at finding one. From the information available, elk numbers are not suffering in your state or mine. But, one does have to work a little harder at finding one.

            Nancy in the last five years I have seen the numbers of elk going down and in your neighborhood the number of moose tags has decreased in the Big Hole Valley each year. Yes one does have to work a “little harder at finding one”. You and me and most everyone else has a limited amount of time and money for are hobbies and pleasures. The number of elk are down in Southwest Montana and the hunting success rate is declining, the daily number of elk seen by hunters is declining.

            I usually hunt elk opening morning in two places. The first place is the very head of the Ruby Valley past the Divide Creek patrol cabin in the Snowcrest Mountains, from there one can see the entire Centennial Valley, to the north the Ruby Valley and the Gravelly Mountains, to the east the Madison Mountains. As I start my ascent into the Snowcrest Mountains, daylight is making its first appearance in the Centennial Valley. With the exception of ranch lights humans are void. As I gain altitude on a clear morning in the Southeast, slowly the Grand Teton raises in above the Centennials until the entire upper mountain is exposed, why would anyone want to live any other place.

            For the last 10 years there were always elk in Divide Creek. Last year there were no elk tracks anywhere; I glass and slowly hike and glassed again. One hundred yard ahead of me with lightly falling snow were fresh tracks. I glassed and glassed slowly making my way to the elk tracks. Elk tracks, no wolf tracks, looking at the tracks and the very light snow falling it appeared that I had flushed the wolves out two or three minutes earlier, I spent the next hour hunting and not a elk track only wolf tracks. Well that morning hunt was blown. What next? I after a bite to eat and a cat nap, I headed to another favorite place, Price Creek in the Centennial Valley for an evening hunt. I hunt where Price Creek crosses the Lakeview Road not up the Price Creek Road which is 1 miles west. This is not federal land but private block management land and state land. I park off of the road and notice that no one else had been there opening morning. I climb over the locked gate and start up the ranch road which had been devoid any traffic since a rain storm 4 or 5 days early.

            A half an hour into the hike I noticed a shod horse track and a large dog track. I thought this cowboy must have a Newfoundland or a Saint Bernard several hundreds later the horse track went one way and the dog track joined up with similar sized canines. Wolves. I hunted until dark and not an elk track to be found wolf track everywhere. Both of these areas have always held elk, now no elk, no elk tracks only wolf tracks. Ten years ago there were elk everywhere, if there are no elk tracks there are no elk. There are still a large number of elk but nowhere near what there was five to ten years ago. I am not the only one who has noticed this trend other hunters and ranchers are saying the same thing. I will not be going back

            Several days ago a friend who has started a environmental NGO asked me, if I wanted help with a grizzly bear study in the West Centennials to help prevent a proposed oil well from being drilled. The study would involve hiking the fence lines and gathering bear hair, GPS the sites and sending the bear hair to Nelson. BC for DNA analysis. I am trying to find the time and I want to help. No, I do not want wolves eliminated they are a symbol of wilderness, but they need to be managed where there take of ungulates is minimal. I support wolves but at the original proposed numbers 150 wolves per state and 10 breeding pairs is enough. I never want them to decrease or limit any hunting opportunity. To me wolves are like black truffles used sparingly they are a wonderful highlight, used to much, they overwhelm.

          • avatar JB says:

            “Extra elk permits may be offered to reduce an elk population, or those “extra” permits may simply be additional harvest opportunity that wildlife managers are able to offer the public.”

            Mark: I don’t think these two purposes are mutually exclusive (you can replace “or” with “and”)–which was sort of my point. That is, anytime you increase opportunity for any purpose, when it decreases some hunters will scream foul. Wolves have provided a convenient scapegoat (something besides wildlife managers to scream at), whether they have had any discernible effect or not.

            “From Elk’s perspective, and many other Montanans, this was clearly a loss of a valuable beneficial use of his/their wildlife resource.”

            No doubt. I did not mean to diminish this claim; in fact, I was trying to emphasize that point. If you go back and read Elk’s original post, you’ll note that he also complains about the inability “to draw a second antlerless permit.” So here is my question: How much hunting opportunity is enough? Is the opportunity to harvest one elk per hunter sufficient, or must wolf advocates accept reduced numbers of wolves so that hunters can kill two, three or more elk?”

            “My point here is that management objectives for lower number of wolves to achieve higher numbers of elk for Montana, Idaho or Wyoming hunters is a valid and appropriate wildlife management objective if the wolf population is managed sustainably within the bounds desired by the residents of each respective state.”

            For the most part I agree. However, I’d like to know how you define “sustainability”? A general definition is the capacity to endure. Yet, there seems to be some disagreement in the scientific community as to what constitutes a “sustainable” population of wolves (especially when one accounts for stochastic events); given this uncertainty–and the fact that Idaho has refused to set either harvest or population objectives, it is hard for people to ascertain whether they agree that Idaho’s management will, in fact, be “sustainable”. Moreover, the past actions of Idaho’s governor, legislature, and wildlife commission, do not give the impression of an agency intent on sustaining wolves. Thus, it should hardly come as a surprise when wolf advocates feel that IDF&G is being disingenuous when they use the word “sustainable”

          • avatar WM says:

            ++ Yet, there seems to be some disagreement in the scientific community as to what constitutes a “sustainable” population of wolves (especially when one accounts for stochastic events)++

            I think there will always be enough NRM wolves as range expands to move around a bit (translocate) if there is ever a stochastic event or two that reduces their number locally. There is a pretty healthy supply in BC or even Alberta if more are required, and willing donors.

            The stochastic event thing has always been a bit of a red herring. Just like the no genetic connectivity issue that was thrown up as a roadblock to delisting in the first suit before Judge Molloy (and was subsequently proven as an incorrect inductive leap conclusion even as far back as 2006, when the data outside YNP was analysed by the very same authors, vonHoldt et al).

          • avatar JB says:

            “I think there will always be enough NRM wolves as range expands to move around a bit (translocate) if there is ever a stochastic event or two that reduces their number locally. There is a pretty healthy supply in BC or even Alberta if more are required, and willing donors.”

            The same could be said of elk populations. Tell me, what would your response be if your state agency decided it was going to manage elk for a minimum viable population [which, in effect, is what we are talking about]? Would you not object? Would not the first question out of your mouth be, “well how many is that?”

            Essentially what you are arguing (or at least implying) is that a state should be able to manage a species at its MVP so long as that state can go elsewhere to get other animals to augment the population should something unforeseen happen. Is that what constitutes “responsible management” these days?

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            “Is that what constitutes “responsible management” these days?”

            Apparently so.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            JB –
            Late response to a point and two questions: Wolves as scapegoats; How many elk are enough?; What is sustainablity?

            Scapegoats? Another oft-mentioned comment that I’m not sure how to interpret. Scapegoat as in something other than wolves have reduced elk hunting opportunity beyond the capacity of habitat to support? That would be the logical use of the term. That would not be the case in the Idaho examples I have been using and not likely an accurate description for the example Elk refers to. Wolf predation effects on elk abundance in broad geographical portions of Idaho and Montana is a reality. Whether or not that should influence wolf management to reduce wolf numbers to lessen their impact on elk abundance and elk hunting opportunity is framed in your questions.
            How many elk are enough? That is for the wildlife stewards (Boards or Commissions) of each state to decide, with the guidance of state residents. If the residents of Idaho desire more elk hunting opportunity than can be provided due to wolf predation losses and those residents are willing to accept a smaller yet sustainable wolf population to achieve greater elk hunting opportunity, then the answer is simple. If there were equivalent and opposing priorities among the Idaho public the decision would be more difficult.
            What is sustainability? I use the term to describe a wolf population that is no less abundant and viable than will ensure a wolf population will persist regardless of stochastic environmental and human caused mortality rates. The minimum population size has been set by ESA listing/de-listing criteria: for Idaho no less than 150 wolves and no less than 15 breeding pairs. The IDFG recognizes that in order to manage for a wolf population that does not drop below that administrative threshhold, we will need to hold the Idaho wolf population at higher level to ensure against the stochastic uncertainty of environmental events such as a parvo outbreak or other similar perturbations.

          • avatar JB says:

            “Scapegoat as in something other than wolves have reduced elk hunting opportunity beyond the capacity of habitat to support?…That would not be the case in the Idaho examples I have been using and not likely an accurate description for the example Elk refers to.”

            Mark: To my knowledge, existing peer-reviewed science suggests elk populations are primarily determined by habitat, and secondarily affected by predators (ONE of which, is the wolf). To my knowledge wolves have been shown to have had SOME (as opposed to ALL) impact on elk populations in 6 management units, yet will be hunted heavily everywhere. Attributing ALL elk population decline/stagnation to one source (i.e. wolves) indeed sounds like the definition of “scapegoating”.

            But I am happy to provide more specific examples of what I see as skapegoating wolves:

            “Wolves are stone cold killers…and the damage these killing machines are inflicting on Idaho’s wildlife is unacceptable, unsustainable and must stop.”

            “Wolves have become the keystone “divine” species in order to achieve a major goal of eliminating hunters and our hunting heritage.”

            (Quotes provided by Commission T. McDermott)

            “How many elk are enough? That is for the wildlife stewards (Boards or Commissions) of each state to decide, with the guidance of state residents. If the residents of Idaho desire more elk hunting opportunity than can be provided due to wolf predation losses and those residents are willing to accept a smaller yet sustainable wolf population to achieve greater elk hunting opportunity, then the answer is simple. If there were equivalent and opposing priorities among the Idaho public the decision would be more difficult.”

            I disagree. There are priority differences within Idaho’s public that could be accommodated with with reasonable compromises; however, IDF&G’s commission is so dominated by one segment of the public that they are incapable of seeing them. This is why I have suggested collaborative learning as a process for dealing with this policy dilemma. Besides, even if you believe that the majority of Idahoan’s support the commission, do you really want to get in the habit of making wildlife management decisions based upon popular vote? [If you did, what would you need a commission for?]

            Then there’s the fact that wolf populations occur almost exclusively on federal public land…

            “What is sustainability? I use the term to describe a wolf population that is no less abundant and viable than will ensure a wolf population will persist regardless of stochastic environmental and human caused mortality rates. The minimum population size has been set by ESA listing/de-listing criteria: for Idaho no less than 150 wolves and no less than 15 breeding pairs. The IDFG recognizes that in order to manage for a wolf population that does not drop below that administrative threshhold, we will need to hold the Idaho wolf population at higher level to ensure against the stochastic uncertainty of environmental events such as a parvo outbreak or other similar perturbations.”

            I agree wholeheartedly with your definition of sustainable. However, I can’t help but point out that “higher level” is a bit vague?

  79. avatar WM says:

    Yellowstone Lake’s trout future – introduced deep water Lake Trout or Native Cutthroat that spawn in shall water and feed the eagles, marten and bears. Which species will prevail and how much intervention will it require?

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      YNP and Idaho experience similar calamaties with non-native lake trout appearing in large, deep lakes supporting important native species. In Idaho lake trout were discovered in Lake Pend Oreille (Pond-Oray) in the late 1990’s. Since then the IDFG conducted extensive research, recruited expertise and guidance from Great Lakes Region lake trout experts and Great Lakes commercial fishermen to conduct targeted commercial scale “pound net” operations that have brought the rapidly expanding lake trout population to the verge of collapse. Using the same commercial fishing strategies that over-fished native lake trout populations in the GLR, we have been very successful achieving the same results in LPO – for the benefit of native species – bull trout, west slope cutthroat and also, the non-native kokanee salmon and gerard rainbow trout fisheries that are the backbone of the LPO fishery.

      YNP is following a similar, though less intensive strategy through their own efforts to remove lake trout with gill nets.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Mark Gamblin(IDFG),

        I agree with you that some of the novelty has probably worn off concerning wolf hunting. But, do you think that some of the “hype” put out by the more radical anti-wolf groups concerning the “dangers” of wolf parasites has caused a drop-off in wolf tags? I know if I believed this stuff, it would give me pause.

      • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

        We can only speculate on the motivation(s) behind the lower wolf tag sales this year. I wouldn’t say that no-one is persuaded by those fears; some clearly are. I doubt that such fears are driving the lower tag sales at this point.

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      I would think marketing a lot of the control catch would not be much of a problem — put fresh lake trout on the menu at some of the park restaurants, West Yellowstone, etc. You can order it in parts of Canada where there are commercial lake trout fisheries. In this region, some test fisheries to assess populations of black cod, etc. are even financed in large part from sale of the test catch. However, the obvious objective of the lake trout control program is to hold the population low enough that it would likely (hopefully) not remain a commercially viable enterprise.

  80. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    I just finished reading Carter Niemeyer’s magnum opus , ” Wolfer ” . **** highly recommended; surprisingly an entertaining page burner.

    There is a two sentence paragraph towards the end that needs to be carved in stone somewhere, or several somewheres:

    ” Ed Bangs was right from the beginning . Wolves have nothing to do with reality . “

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      I’m 3 chapters into Bob Hayes’ book, Wolves of the Yukon — a lot of description of current knowledge of Beringia during the Pleistocene into the Holocene so far. Very interesting chronology of herbivores and predators, etc., habitat change and current thinking about climate change versus hunter over-kill in extinctions. The wolf was the only major predator present pretty much all the way through from 47,000+ years ago to present. He had believed wolves were adaptable enough to persist under any large prey complex so was taken aback when it was found recently that current wolves in the Yukon are genetically unrelated to the pleistocene wolves that lived there. Something happened even to them.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        That is interesting. Are you saying that the original Pleistocene wolf population disappeared and that they were replaced later by a different genetic population from another region? If so, where did this new population come from?

        • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

          IDhiker —
          Here’s the reference to the genetic study comparing wolves in Beringia with modern-day wolves in the Yukon.

          There is a lot of speculation in the discussion, but it sounds like the Pleistocene wolves in Beringia, while about the size of modern Alaska wolves, had stronger, more specialized jaws for large prey that abounded then and evolved similar to the dire wolf that was south of the ice sheet. The authors point out that the largest and most carnivorous carnivores in each family were generally the ones that went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. Apparently, the gray wolf that is the ancestor of the current one in North America was present south of the ice but was less common until after the extinction of the dire wolf and then became the dominant form and spread north after the ice melted. It is thought to have originally come from Asia in an earlier migration and made it below the later position of the ice sheet where there were already coyotes and dire wolves.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Thanks for the reference and information. Paleontology has always interested me,and I currently do some archaeological work in the Frank Church. I’ll take a look at this reference..

  81. avatar Paul says:

    Mr. Gamblin constantly talks about the views of all wildlife “stakeholders” being taken into account concerning wolves. If this were indeed the case why is there no quota on the number of wolves to be “taken,” “harvested,” “managed,” or whatever the fluffy buzz-word of the day they use to detract from the slaughter about to happen? Yes, his and other “Fish and Game” agencies across the country are generally concerned with one thing and one thing only, hunter and trapper opportunity. In my opinion those of us who appreciate wildlife for viewing purposes always take a backseat to ranching, trophy hunting, and trapping interests.

    The fact that Idaho and Wyoming intend to decimate wolf numbers to the absolute minimum just a couple of months after their de-listing shows their true intentions. This is not about “management” this is a vendetta against both the federal government and the wolves themselves for having the nerve to act like wolves. How dare they kill an elk that one of these “noble” hunters wants to kill himself and hang on his wall. What a sad state of affairs we are in when the killing of an animal has been boiled down to mainly being a form of “recreation” and not sustenance. Let’s not fool anyone into believing that the true intention of these State’s wolf “management” is for anything other than trophy hunter and rancher appeasement. I can only hope that after the first picture surfaces of a wolf “hunter” posing with his trophy the rest of the nation will be as revolted as I am.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Right on Paul!

      And Mark, as you can see by the info below, it gets very confusing for those of us trying to relate to your facts & figures:

      Plan to kill Lolo wolves to help elk kills few wolves
      By Ralph Maughan On June 26, 2011 · 28 Comments
      As I’ve argued for a long time, this is probably because there are few wolves to kill-
      It is a political article of faith in much of Idaho that wolves are the reason for the relatively low elk numbers in the area called “the Lolo.” The belief also blames wolves for the failure of elk to increase despite killing lots of bears and cougars too.

      After a big splash and radio telemetry, Idaho Fish and Game saw 5 Lolo wolves shot from the air last May after the congressional wolf delisting. They abandoned their aerial effort quickly because it cost too much and the wolf carcasses were far too few. They said they would rely instead mostly on outfitters who now, after years of claiming wolves are very abundant in the area, suddenly say they see very few.

      Finally on June 18, an Idaho Fish and Game C.O. shot a wolf near Powell. Now they have 6 dead wolves, 1/10 of their goal of about 60 wolves dead and 20 or 30 living in the area. I’ll say it again, as I’ve said many times in the past, there are not many wolves in the Lolo. Their numbers probably peaked there a 6-9 years ago and have declined on their own since. When you look closely at it, the “wolves everywhere myth” evaporated like one of those dreams after eating too much junk food.

      The Idaho 2009-10 wolf hunt was far under quota in the Lolo Unit (more than any other unit).
      The special outfitters only wolf hunt yielded few wolves.
      The great Lolo wolf reduction that now no longer needs federal approval or any research has killed just 6 wolves.
      If you read the official reports how they estimate wolf numbers in the area, you will find there are very few firm sightings. It is almost all about maybe hearing howls and giving a standarized interpretation of the number heard, seeing tracks, likely doublecounting all three, and plenty of extrapolation from these infirm observations.

      The good thing for the agency is that blaming wolves makes it so that elk never need to recover in the area because there will always be plenty of ghost wolves that ate them.

      • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

        I have responded to, commented on, numerous times, the line of reasoning Ralph relied on above – which curiously ignores the substantial science available (ironic isn’t it?)to help you and others understand the elk-wolf dynamic in the Lolo and Sawtooth management zones. I’ll try again to put this uncomforatable reality into a more rational perspective.

        The modest success of our efforts to reduce wolf numbers with aerial shooting says nothing about the abundance of wolves in the Lolo Zone. That poor success had everything to do with a very short effort at the end of the winter when wolves and elk were already transitioning to valleys floors bare of snow. Conditions for finding and shooting wolves was especially poor, which explains only 5 wolves being shot/removed from the Lolo Zone. And no, the modest success of hunters and authorized state agents (outfitters)for wolf removal does not speak to wolf abundance. It has been expalined several times that the Lolo Zone is characterized by some of the most remote and rugged county in Idaho. Difficult to access and very difficult conditions for successful wolf hunting.
        Now, I will ask – why rely on what is at best a flimsy line of reasoning to support a questionable argument that the IDFG is somehow over-reporting wolf numbers in the Lolo Zone, when you have available to you annual reports detailing both the methodology and findings of detailed wolf population estimates; those estimates being the product of collaboration between IDFG, USFWS and Nez Perce Tribe professional biologists??
        The science that describes this wildlife management challenge is very clear. Elk production and recruitment in the Lolo Zone is significantly below the capacity of Lolo Zone elk habitat to support – due directly to wolf predation of cow and calf elk.

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          “The good thing for the agency is that blaming wolves makes it so that elk never need to recover in the area because there will always be plenty of ghost wolves that ate them.”

      • avatar Paul says:

        Nancy, Great post!

    • avatar Elk275 says:


      I have read several times that only 1 out of 20 elk killed is a 6 point bull. Over half of the elk killed are cows and 80% of the bulls killed are spikes or small bulls (rag heads) Of the 5 and 6 point bulls killed I doubt that more than 1 out of 20 grosses greater than 340 which is about the minimum for a wall hanger. But a trophy is in the eyes of the beholder. Only a very small percentage of elk killed are for trophies and the meat form those trophies are utilized for human consumption. It’s the law.

      From my experience nearly 100% of all elk killed, 95% eaten of a elk is eaten within a year. I have some left over elk from last year which in the next several days are going to be donated to the Rapture Center. Then it is time to start over.

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        Elk –
        I occasionally donate venison to our homeless shelter, called The Glory Hole, but had never considered a rapture center. Do they figure eating wild game will help purify their souls enough to make the cut into heaven? 🙂

    • avatar jon says:

      EXCELLENT and very true comments Paul!

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Why is a quota for wolf harvest/kill/take relevant to the views of wildlife stakeholders? Are you suggesting that including wolf harvest/kill/take quotas in fewer wolf management zones for the 2011-2012 wolf hunt (than the 2000-2010 hunt)is evidence of ignoring stakeholder interests?
      With respect to wildlife (wolf) viewing – you do realize that wolves are available in the NRMR state for viewing 24-7, 12 months of the year? Hunting and wildlife viewing are not mutually exclusive mangement objectives. In fact, USFWS survey data (and other independent surveys) consistently shows that hunters comprise a significant portion of the “population” of U.S. wildlife viewers.

      • avatar Paul says:

        Because saying that unlimited numbers of wolves are allowed to be killed reeks more of persecution than “management.” Even Montana has put a quota in place so that at least on the surface it doesn’t look like an all out slaughter. Idaho’s plan may be legal but it certainly doesn’t allow those “stakeholders” who value wolves to have much faith in the idea that many will survive what is looming on the horizon in your state. I would also believe that many hunters who are involved in “wildlife viewing” are merely just doing a recon for future hunting endeavors. Not all, but many.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Thanks Paul. That helps me understand that you and perhaps many others don’t understand what quotas do and don’t do. The ONLY thing a quota does is set a pre-determined limit to the number of wolves that will be allowed to be taken by hunters. In some Idaho wolf management zones where we have specific management objectives for wolf conservation, we included quotas to add assurance of meeting those population objectives. In other zones where we either don’t have that type of specific management objective, OR where our objective to have the highest assurance of reducing wolf numbers to a level that achieves other objectives (Lolo and Sawtooth Zones e.g.) we don’t need to set a pre-determined limit on wolf take. Not having a quota on wolf take in those management zones DOES NOT mean unlimited take of wolves is allowed. We will closely monitor wolf harvest/kill/take this season just as we did during the 2009-2010 wolf season and will have a very reliable assessment of wolf harvest/kill/take throughout the season. The IDFG and the Commission can modify, limit or close the hunting season in a very short period of time if circumstances require. Regarding hunters as wildlife viewers, I assure you that you misunderstand the values and priorities of MOST hunters if you truely believe that hunters, as a group, enjoy wildlife viewing only as a means of preparing for a hunt. Very reliable survey data from around the country substantiates that trend. Hunters have consistently been among the most ardent and active wildlife lovers and conservationists – throughout our history.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            That’s all well and good, but again, the commission can close areas when the harvest is enough, but there’s no idea when it’s enough. No quota does mean unlimited harvest, if you haven’t identified where the limit is. How else do you know when to stop? My guess is: IDFG does have limits figured out, but does not want to publish them.

        • avatar Elk275 says:

          Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have over the counter elk and deer tags and in those districts/areas there is no quota on the number of elk of deer taken. Most areas do not do not have any quota for bears either. So why would wolves be any different.

          I do think that both Idaho and Wyoming are stupid with there first year of wolf management.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            But Elk,

            I just think that with wolves just being delisted a more cautious approach would be warranted for the first year, and apparently with your comment:

            “I do think that both Idaho and Wyoming are stupid with there first year of wolf management.”

            that we are on the same page on that??

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            You said it

            ***I do think that both Idaho and Wyoming are stupid with there first year of wolf management.***

            Wolves would be different because they just came off the ESL, and if I’m not mistaken, any animal that has come off the ESL has not been “treated” this way.

          • avatar jon says:

            2nd year for Idaho elk.

          • avatar Jerry Black says:

            Elk…..If Montana had 500 or so bears or 500 elk, or 500 muleys, do you think they would have a quota ?

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        We’ve been over this before, but the fact that Idaho does not have a quota invites criticism and skepticism of your true intentions. You can say all you want about how it’s good biology, scientific, or whatever, but it makes no sense to say you’ll know when enough wolves have been killed to end the season when you don’t know what that number is. It reminds me of the saying about pornography, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” Your department could have done better. Montana FWP is making you guys look like the Keystone Cops.

        • avatar Paul says:

          I am sure that the only way IDFG will call a halt to the slaughter will be when they perceive the number is close enough to invoke Federal scrutiny. Of course I have little faith that Salazar with do the right thing even if that happens. Their own Governor and other public officials have made it abundantly clear what their ideal number of wolves is: ZERO.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            I have called 1800344-WILD several times to voice my outrage at this Wyoming “wolf management” plan based in “sound science”. The last time I called the person that I talked to kept telling me that nowhere in the plan does it say tht wolves can be shot on sight. I kept asking her “What does predator status mean? It means shoot on sight…..The FEDS are getting sensitive- I urge people to still call and voice their outrage….
            The state of Idaho on the other hand thinks that if you repeat something 1 million times that suddenly it will become truth……

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Yep, my brother lives in Boise and he keeps me filled in about “Butch” and his antics. He thinks Butch is crazy, which is surprising because my brother is an avid hunter and even bought a wolf tag the last time around!

      • avatar Nancy says:

        +In fact, USFWS survey data (and other independent surveys) consistently shows that hunters comprise a significant portion of the “population” of U.S. wildlife viewers+

        And would that be just BEFORE they put a bullet thru the head, or another part of the body Mark, or AFTER, when they prop that dead animal up for a photo op?

        • avatar Paul says:

          Nancy, I absolutely love that comment. I was thinking the same thing, but you expressed it far better than I could have.

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          I remember when my brother shot a large mountain lion east of McCall. He treed it and then took photos of it, alive, up in the tree. Then he shot it and took some more pictures of the now dead lion. I think I offended him when I declined to be enthused about his photos. Now the lion is “stuffed” in his house.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          I assume you mean that disingenuously. Of course most hunters care deeply about wildlife in general and spend much of their time in the field observing a wide variety of wildlife – mostly non-game species. Birds, small mammals, game species they either don’t care to take or are not legal to take. The certainty that you, Paul and others seem to have that hunters don’t or couldn’t appreciate wildlife for a variety of intrisic as well as utilitarian values – suggest that you may harbor and ignorant predjudice or maybe just a naive misunderstanding of the values of the hunting tradition.

          • avatar WM says:

            I spend quite a bit of time when I am hunting enjoying viewing other wildlife. Just sitting stationary with a pair of binoculars for fairly long periods of time, watching what is going on around me. I venture to guess many other hunters do this, as well. Watching eagles, grouse, ravens, chipmunks/squirrels and even a rare bobcat, black bear or marten comprise much of what I enjoy about hunting. Yeah, wolves, too. But it certainly seems I see very, very few elk and deer when wolves are present, and that has become more common over the last four years, or so.

          • avatar Paul says:

            As I stated before I have been surrounded by hunters my entire life. Maybe I have only been around the “bad apples” who kill just to kill, but I somehow doubt it. The only thing ignorant is the idea that allows animals to be nothing more moving targets to be “managed,” and “recruited” for hunter opportunity. Maybe if more of the hunting community would speak out against some of the abhorrent practices like bear hounding, and predator persecution people like me would have more respect for them and their “traditions.”

            Early humanity needed hunting at one time for both survival and sustenance. Whether you want to admit it or not most hunting today is for strictly recreational purposes whether the animal is eaten or not. I am not against hunting for sustenance. What I am against is recreational hunting being made out to be this noble “tradition.” I guess I was just born without the gene that would allow me to take pleasure in the killing of something for fun. How noble is it to have your smiling picture taken with a once living creature that you just snuffed the life out of?

      • avatar JB says:

        “With respect to wildlife (wolf) viewing – you do realize that wolves are available in the NRMR state for viewing 24-7, 12 months of the year? Hunting and wildlife viewing are not mutually exclusive mangement objectives.”

        True. However, Idaho’s management objectives for wolves-if achieved-will result in relatively dramatic negative impacts to wolf populations, thus reducing people’s ability to view wolves (or, in management parlance, negatively impacting one’s viewing opportunity). Moreover, even if their population objectives are not achieved, viewing opportunities will also be impacted by the behavioral changes that will result from several months of human hunting and trapping. Wolves are already elusive. Halving or quartering the population through sustained human-hunting and trapping will make them all the more so.

        Finally, I would also point out that a consistent defense of western states’ management of wolves has been that wolves (in some management units) have, in combination with other factors, negatively impacted elk hunting opportunities. States response has been to hunt wolves aggressively everywhere, without any acknowledgment that such hunting may impact wolf viewing opportunities. Indeed, rather that such an admonition, advocates are constantly reminded that wolves are available for viewing 24/7, 365. The implicit message that is being sent is: elk hunting opportunities are more important than wolf viewing opportunities.

        As an “outsider” what I find frustrating is that much of this conflict could have been avoided by protecting packs in places that are relatively accessible and where they have been visible. Such actions would have given agencies credibility with “moderates” who support wolf hunting, but would also like the opportunity to see wolves somewhere other than the Lamar valley. I am not naive enough to think this would have satisfied everyone, but it would have silenced some persistent criticisms (mine included!).

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Also, would not the best time for wolf viewing be when there is snow cover?
          Oops! Folks will be shootin and trappin at the same time. Probably easier to view a dead wolf for quite some time, as it won’t move.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          JB –
          I understand and agree with most you your points. Yes, wolf population management actions will affect wolf viewing opportunities in ways similar to wolf predation affecting elk hunting opportunities. That is part of the balance in management objectives that I refer to. That is simply part of the process of understanding public expectations and preferences for wildlife (wolf) management and seeking an optimal balance among disparate stakeholder requests.
          Similarly, I agree that wolf viewing opportunities are given a lower priority than is elk hunting opportunities. That is precisely because the public preferences, and demand for wildlife beneficial uses by the state stakeholders are higher maintaining historic elk hunting opportunity than they are for increasing wolf viewing opportunity. Having said that, it would also be an exageration to say that one must go to Lamar Valley (YNP) to see wolves – rather than Idaho, Montana or Wyoming public lands because of hunting and wolf population objectives. There will continue to be wolf viewing opportunities in the NRMR states, though likely not with the abundance or ease that many would prefer. Another example of mutually exclusive management opportunitis. I recognize that in the estimation of wolf viewing advocates, setting aside “wolf reserve” areas specifically for wolf viewing seems like a reasonable concession to wolf moderates. At this time that management option does not serve the needs or desires of state stakeholders for wolf management.

          • avatar jon says:

            Mark, honest question here, are elk hunting opportunities more important than wildlife viewing opportunities of wolves?

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            +++At this time that management option does not serve the needs or desires of state stakeholders for wolf management.+++

            Rather, “Does not serve the needs or desires of some of the state’s stakeholders for wolf management.”

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            That is for public stakeholders of each respective state to answer. Hunting, wildlife viewing, just knowing that wildlife populations are available for enjoyment are all legitimate benefits of our public wildlife resources. It is up to society to decide how the use of those resources are to be prioritized and allocated. It is the responsibility of fish and game commissions or their equivalents to determine WHAT those priorities are and then provide the opportunities to enjoy those priorities. In most cases, multiple uses may be accomodated. In our discussion, hunting and wildlife viewing are entirely compatible as joint wildlife management objectives.

    • avatar willam huard says:

      After Mr Millage shot the first wolf during the 2009 wolf hunt many people took offense. There was a story in Nat Geo about wolves absent the “grinning idiot” pose, with Millage’s gun placed across the carcass of the wolf he shot.
      I haven’t quite figured out Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. One thing is sure- people get very uncomfortable when you question hunter ethics, it’s something very few people want to talk about. Once you question these people you are labeled very quickly as a “hunter basher” or an anti……it’s almost like you are anti-american when you question them.

      • avatar Paul says:

        William, I know exactly what you are saying. Where I live many hunters act like they should be worshiped. As a veteran, I will be damned if I am considered to be anti-American in the eyes of some cammo wearing slob because I don’t buy into their BS. I am not trying to turn this into a hunter bash, because I know not all are like this, but their propaganda gets old very fast. We have many wolves in my state and hunters are already gnashing their teeth about wanting to “manage” them. Of course they use the same tired reasons that we hear from the Western states: “they are killing all of the deer,” “they will stalk your children,” etc. Many hunters here also talk out of both sides of their mouth. On one side saying that deer are over-populated so they must kill them so they don’t die :), and the other saying that there “aren’t any deer” during the hunting season. Which is it? I think that what it boils down to is that many hunters want hunting to be as easy as going through the drive-thru at McDonalds, and they do not want to work at it. They want the trophy and the “grinning idiot” picture but they don’t want to break a sweat to get it. Again not all, but many are this way.

        • avatar jon says:

          Yep, look at Wisconsin for example. Over a million deer and the hunters over there are complaining the wolves are killing too many deer. Samething with yellowstone, too many elk before wolves were reintroduced and now hunters are saying that yellowstone is a barren wasteland with no elk.

          • avatar Paul says:

            I live in Wisconsin, aka Wississippi. Hunters here try to act like they are so big and bad, but come across as some of the biggest whiners I have ever seen. I have been in public safety for over 13 years and some of the biggest crybabies that I have dealt with are hunters whining about land and perceived trespassing issues. Again not all are like this, but enough to raise eyebrows.

          • avatar jon says:

            Already happening in most states with wolves, but are the hunters trying to scare people with the wolf tapeworm?

          • avatar Paul says:

            Jon, I haven’t heard the tapeworm story here yet, but give it time. There is enough nonsense here about how all of the deer and children are doomed because of the “big, bad wolf.” I guess here in WI and out west they teach Little Red Riding Hood as non-fiction.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      My thoughts exactly! There is a lot of propaganda being put out by IDFG about their wolf management plan.

      “Mr. Gamblin (speaking for IDFG) constantly talks about the views of all wildlife “stakeholders” being taken into account concerning wolves.”

      I agree with you, this is patently untrue, as only the concerns of the livestock, trapping, and hunting industry are being seriously considered. The views of others outside these industries may be considered in a technical sense, but their desires are quickly discarded. Notice some of Mark’s responses to me, where he says my views are important, but that the commission picked a more “responsible” path.

      You don’t have to have a wildlife degree to see through this – Idaho’s wolf plan does not pass the “smell test.”

  82. avatar Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Right on Paul.

  83. avatar Paul says:

    Elk, I cannot comment on your motivation for hunting or whether you get pleasure out of the activity. I just do not like all of this talk about creating “hunter opportunity” at the expense of predators such as the wolf. I will be the first to admit that I do not support hunting for anything other than necessary sustenance.

    I live in Wisconsin so I have been surrounded by hunters most of my life. Most go about their business and are mostly ethical. However at least where I live there are a significant number of unethical slobs who only hunt for pure sport and kill anything that moves just because they can (like Mourning Doves). These are the types that give hunters a black eye and make it difficult to view any hunter with anything but disdain. These are the types that wear cammo when “hunting” for Twinkies at Wal-Mart, and drive giant pick up trucks with all sorts of bumper stickers like “if it’s brown, it’s down,” or “Wolves: smoke a pack a day.” I feel that these types of people also expect Fish and Game departments to eliminate any obstacles that get in the way of them getting “their” deer including wolves and bears. This hunter appeasement here and in other states causes great animosity among non-hunters who feel that their concerns are not taken seriously. Judging from the so called wolf “management” plans adopted by Idaho and Wyoming I don’t know how this can be disputed.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      I’m with you on that, Paul!

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Where in Wisconsin are you? I grew up as a kid in Stevens Point. My brothers and I spent our summers up on the Wolf River near Antigo. But, we moved here to Montana in 1967, which I haven’t regretted.

        • avatar Paul says:

          Portage. I know Steven Point/Plover area very well.

          • avatar jon says:

            They allow hunters to use dogs when hunting bears huh Paul? What is the attitude like about that from non-hunters over there in your state of WI?

          • avatar Paul says:

            Jon, many of us non-hunters are revolted by this practice. Unfortunately the Wisconsin DNR only cares what hunters and trappers think, and the rest of us be damned. They have what is called a “Conservation Congress” that “advises” the DNR on wildlife issues. They claim that it is open to all citizens but non-hunters tend to be harassed and bullied if they speak up for wildlife. It is basically a “fox in the hen house” type situation where hunters and trappers are the ones who make decisions concerning wildlife. It is widely known among state wildlife advocates that this “Congress” is a mouthpiece for hunting and trapping lobbies in the state and the legislature rubber stamps their recommendations.

          • avatar jon says:

            Paul. has there been any attempts to ban hound hunting of bears over there in WI?

          • avatar Paul says:

            Jon, there are beginning to be some grass roots efforts to make citizens aware of this deplorable practice. The problem is that all wildlife issues go through this “Conservation Congress” and they see any limits on hunting practices, no matter how disgusting, to be a violation of their “rights.” I think that the problem is that if anyone wants to speak out about this they are afraid of being bullied by bear “hunters” and their supporters. I have also had several hunters tell me that they too are sickened by bear hounding but for some reason they do not speak out against it. I think that many have come to accept the talking points of groups like the NRA that say that any restriction on hunting will lead to an outright ban on all hunting. Of course this is false, but people really do believe this at least here in WI.

          • avatar wolf modetate says:

            Hound hunting for bears is not hunting imo. It IS an invaluable way to “manage” bear and cougar populations. Bears are incredibly difficult to hunt using spot-n-stock methods for bears and near impossible for cougar. I would never hunt using hounds because its not sporting imo. However I am glad that there are people out there that do it in order to keep predator populations at levels that don’t affect ungulate populations…

            Most bear and cougar are killed incidentally while hunting elk and deer. I’ve killed one bear in my life and it was while I was putting the stalk on a herd of elk. I had a bear tag and saw it less than 20yards away on a nasty area full of blowdown.

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      You’re aware that all of your Wisconsin wildlife areas, WDNR wildlife staff, and most wildlife research projects are funded by hunters’ and trappers’ dollars?

      • avatar Paul says:

        I am aware of that but that doesn’t mean that they should have sole control over wildlife decisions. That makes it seem like the state’s wildlife is part of this exclusive club that only benefits a few. Did you also know that the state has a special license plate for “Endangered Resources” that many people bought thinking that they were helping to benefit wildlife? It turns out that a significant amount of money from those plates went to bear hounders whose dogs were killed by wolves? These people put their dogs in harms way and demanded that they be reimbursed when a wolf killed one that strayed into their territory.

        • avatar ma'iingan says:

          Compensation for bear hounds killed by wolves was part of a deal struck years ago to garner the support of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association – and yes, that compensation has directly benefited wolves. Without it, the fledgling Wisconsin wolf population of the late 1970’s would likely have been persecuted out of existence.

          I can’t even begin to enumerate the non-hunting projects I’ve worked at during my career, all funded by hunting and trapping revenue – Butler’s garter snake, Blanding’s turtle, queen snake, Kirtland’s warbler, North American porcupine, prairie chicken, and currently the gray wolf. All non-game species, all benefiting from hunting and trapping revenue.

          • avatar Paul says:

            What is wrong with this picture when wolf advocates had to grovel at the feet of the esteemed Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association? If I remember correctly this same “Association” put out a TV ad a couple of years ago informing people that wolves were going to eat their kids. Here is a link to that story:


            Regardless of how many projects are funded by hunting and trapping fees, I do not know how any ethical hunter or otherwise can think it is okay to “hunt” bears in this manner. Even with my admitted disdain for most hunters, I have not come across any who find bear hounding to be an ethical practice, yet those who participate in it have so much sway. This I cannot figure out.

      • avatar Rita K. Sharpe says:

        Painfully,we do.

        • avatar ma'iingan says:

          “What is wrong with this picture when wolf advocates had to grovel at the feet of the esteemed Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association?”

          It’s called engaging all the stakeholders – compensation was agreed upon for depredated bear hounds and livestock, and now that the depredation compensation has outgrown the Endangered Resources license plate fund, it’s also being funded by hunting and trapping revenue. Wolf advocates got what they wanted – recovery in Wisconsin has exceeded all expectations. And wolf opponents got what they wanted – that’s the way the stakeholders’ process is supposed to work.

          • avatar jon says:

            If these people cared so much about their hounds, they wouldn’t be letting them run loose in places they know wolves are. They are the ones putting their hounds in danger, so why on earth should they be compensated for that? That is ridiculous.

          • avatar JB says:

            “…that’s the way the stakeholders’ process is supposed to work.”

            Agreed. It may be an uneasy truce, but it has allowed wolves to thrive and bear hunters to be partially compensated for their losses. It is nice to see good old Mid-western pragmatism win out over the emotion and ideology that so often characterize these debates.

  84. avatar IDhiker says:

    Mark Gamblin (IDFG),
    Why is it when I write officials of IDFG about wildlife issues, that I more often than not do not get a reply? Doing the same in Montana always gets me a written reply or a phone call, even if it’s an issue that Montana FWP and I disagree about.

    Since I live near the eastern Frank Church area, I have written the supervisor of the Salmon area office several times with no reply, and the state head of law enforcement for IDFG with the same result. In my view, this is unprofessional conduct, rude, and unbefitting a public servant. What’s your opinion on this?

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      The Salmon Region has been without a Regional Supervisor since Jim Lukens retired in mid May. The IDFG is holding most vacancies open for 6 months for salary savings. I won’t speculate on the specifics of your questions since I have no first hand knowledge of the circumstances of your interaction.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        How about comment on the fact that IDFG refused to answer my questions, rather than the content?

        Jim has retired?? I wish he had let me know and I would have sent him a congratulations card. I have talked to him numerous times over the years.

  85. avatar Nancy says:

    +Nancy in the last five years I have seen the numbers of elk going down and in your neighborhood the number of moose tags has decreased in the Big Hole Valley each year+

    Interesting comment Elk. I’ve seen MORE elk in the past couple of years than ever before in my area. I think it has a lot to do with the ranch across from me no longer shuffling cow/calf pairs (bovine) out in those pastures right after calving. The new owner leases the land now and there are no cows on there until June, sometimes later.

    Far as moose go, I’ve heard people complain up the valley that moose are scarce now (where the development of new homes going up – has tripled) I’m seeing more moose down my way and I’m sure its a result of that. There is more development in the Big Hole these days and I have to wonder how many ranches are also riping out moose habitat (willows) I’ve seen them doing it here in my area.

    You might want to check around your old hunting haunts and see if the dynamics have changed because according to the RMEF:
    Statewide, elk populations held steady at 150,000. Hunters will be smart to look toward Region 3 in the southwest, which yields almost 50 percent of the annual elk harvest, including some incredible bulls. There is plenty of wilderness there, but also lots of high-dollar private ranches with great elk habitat. Some allow public hunting, most don’t. By season’s end, many elk crowd onto these areas. Be sure to check the regs and find out which ranches are enrolled in the state’s access program known as Block Management (BMA).

    And I’m curious Elk about your comment “seeing lots of wolf tracks but no elk tracks” last fall. Why wolves around if no elk? (their prey of choice)

    • avatar WM says:


      I will take the question you posed to Elk:

      ++And I’m curious Elk about your comment “seeing lots of wolf tracks but no elk tracks” last fall. Why wolves around if no elk? (their prey of choice)++

      The elk may be around, but they are hiding on steeper ground, in the thick timber/brush, and at higher elevations (See Creel studies which have been cited here before). And, make no mistake, there are fewer yearling elk, which makes no distinction between bulls and cows, and that means fewer harvestable bulls making it to maturity in the future. And that elk hiding part, also results in them going into winter with less fat reserves, which has all kinds of negative survival implications. We have talked about that before here, as well.

      I have mentioned here before having hunted in Idaho in the same general area for the last twenty years (some of it logged, fires, etc. so habitat is always in state of renewal good for elk). The only thing that has changed is the INCREASING presence of wolves, and we have seen lots of wolf tracks on trails, old logging grades and roads, as well as the wolves that make the tracks. Alot fewer elk tracks, and very skittish elk. I saw three elk in 9 days of hunting, including getting in the dense brush and trying different techniques to find them (they just get moved around in the brush and not seen). How should I, and others, feel about the presence of wolves?

      And, don’t presume to give the, “Well, just go hunt someplace else,” bullshit advice. Not going to happen, and that is really kind of dumb anyway, since wolves, as they work their way through the elk where they are, and increase their numbers, will go where the elk are more plentiful and less wary (same thing that attracts some hunters).

      I have no desire to buy a wolf tag, but surely will not be too disappointed if someone else does and thins them out a bit.

      • avatar willam huard says:

        “I have no desire to buy a wolf tag but surely will not be too disappointed if someone else does and thins them out a bit.”
        Lets see:
        1000 wolves give or take
        150 target number
        850 wolf kills

        Pretty extensive “thinning”

        • avatar WM says:


          It is EXTREMELY unlikely they will get down to the minimum number you cite even over a period of three to four years. Do remember,wolves are prolific breeders (we have 15 years of history on that). The ID hunt two years ago did not meet the total quota, though some individual management units were achieved, and rather quickly.

          Even at 1,000 wolves, I will venture the number is under-estimated by 10-20% if Dr. Mech is correct in his prognostications.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            The one factor that needs to be considered here is trapping. How many trappers decide to expand into wolf trapping, and how successful they are in getting their six wolves that IDFG will allow. Usually, there are about 800-1000 active trappers in the state of Idaho. If, say, half of them trap wolves, that could amount to 2400-3000 wolves trapped. Which obviously won’t happen because there aren’t that many wolves. But, let’s just say only 200 trappers trap wolves, and they only trap 3 wolves each, that would still amount to 600 animals. Add that to the last hunting season and we’re talking over 800 wolves.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Add to the long trapping season the fact that IDFG will use helicopter gunning when there is still snow on the ground… I think IDFG will meet their goal of wolf reduction rather quickly, possibly this year.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            season, not year

          • avatar Bob says:

            Id hiker
            Your belief that trappers will be successful is based on what wildlife services can’t even trap wolves with much success. We have no experience trapping wolves in the U.S.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            I have no knowledge of what trapper success will be, and neither does anyone else at this time. I do know that IDFG is holding training seminars to help trappers out in this regard. I assume (and most of this wolf issue is based on assumptions by both sides) that even if trapper success is very low, it will still drastically reduce the wolf population. Perhaps Mark Gamblin can tell us how many trappers have signed up to trap wolves, then we can better make an “educated” guess. Saying Idaho trappers have no experience trapping wolves is true, but I’m assuming (again) that most of them can read and discover from written sources how trappers in other areas successfully trap wolves.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            I doubt that trapping will make any serious inroads in the ID wolf population, any more so than hunting. It takes me an average of 30-35 trap nights to catch a wolf, and I have ten years of experience. My catches are heavily skewed towards yearlings, and alphas are very difficult to capture – some are next to impossible. Granted, I’m trapping for telemetry but the techniques and equipment are the same, at least for ground sets. Does ID allow snares?

          • avatar jon says:

            I haven’t seen anything about Idaho not allowing snares, so I guess they are going to let them be used. Since you are an experience trapped, what if other animals are caught in the traps meant for wolves? Trappers have to check their traps every 72 hours. Do you consider this to be humane and ethical?

          • avatar jon says:

            excuse me, an experienced trapper.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            My state requires trap checks every 24 hours, and even if it didn’t, it’s my agency’s SOP. And no, I don’t consider a 72-hour interval to be defensible if one is using live leghold traps. The wolf traps we use are selective – pan tension is set by a variable number of leaf springs, so the trap won’t trigger on an animal weighing less than what I’m targeting.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            I might be wrong, but I thought I saw Idaho allowed snares. I’ll apologize now if I am wrong.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            True, but if only one third of Idaho trappers turn to wolf trapping, and only trap one wolf every two months, rather than your one, that will make a take of over 600 wolves. Add on to that the kill from the hunt two years ago of over 200 wolves and we’re at 800+, not even taking into account the longer season this year. I hope, however, that I am wrong and that you are right!

            And yes, Idaho allows using snares to kill wolves (check their website). They have used them for years for other animals. As I have mentioned before, I fought with IDFG for a long time to outlaw the blockage of USFS trails and packbridges with snares, to no avail.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            @IDhiker – a point of clarification; a “trap-night” refers to one trap for one night. For instance, if I have seven sets and it takes five nights to catch a wolf in one of them, that’s 35 trap-nights.

          • avatar IDhiker says:


            In that case, I guess I’m underestimating the potential kill by Idaho trappers. From my view, then, they could easily kill far more than my hypothetical scenario, especially since there is no limit to the number of traps that can be set. Thanks for the clarification.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “From my view, then, they could easily kill far more than my hypothetical scenario, especially since there is no limit to the number of traps that can be set.”

            Well, yes… but there are a number of intangibles, the effects of which can’t be predicted. For instance, the bulk of my trapping is done during the denning and rendezvous periods, when wolves are likely to be moving about individually. So if I can get in and process the animal early in the morning after its capture, the likelihood of “educating” other pack members is reduced – and I might be able to capture additional animals from that pack. However, if that animal were left in the trap for 72 hours, it’s quite likely that it would be encountered by other pack members, who then might become extremely difficult to capture.

            And any trapping conducted during the period when the pack is traveling as a group is likely to be far less productive – adult wolves are very neophobic and are reluctant to investigate even the most alluring of scents – and the alpha animals tend to set the behavioral norm for the subordinate pack members.

            And some wolves just can’t be trapped – I’ve had sets dug up by wolves, and I’ve heard stories from veteran trappers about wolves who’ve dug up every set in a trapline, and even defecated or urinated on them.

            The rule of thumb in my agency, which has no become an SOP, is that if we haven’t caught a wolf in ten nights we’re not going to catch one – so we pull all the sets and slink away in defeat.

            In a nutshell, my opinion is that trapping is not going to result in any significant offtake of Idaho wolves – another factor that I should mention is that quality wolf traps are expensive, so a trap line of any significant size is going to require a substantial investment on the part of the trapper.

          • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

            Ma’iingan —

            It sounds like you’ve got a lot of experience trying to catch wolves. I think most wild canids are pretty wary. Once early in high school went along with a friend from Gardiner who was trying to trap coyotes in the Traverines above town. He had found the perfect bait, an elk carcass, and had carefully bedded three traps around it. When we checked it, a coyote (or more) had been there alright, but they had piled up three neat mounds of dirt, one over each of his traps — probably before even taking a bite. He never did catch one.

            There is an annual wolf trapping class taught up around Fairbanks — described by a local writer who had no intention of applying what she learned to trapping.


            They do catch traveling wolves, although I’m not sure most of the methods would be useful in catching wolves live for research. It sounds like they often bed a trap right in a snowmobile trail, which the wolves tend to follow, with a step-over, and then saturate the woods around with snares where the rest of the pack splits in all directions when one steps in the trap. Even after intensive trapping effort in all directions by snowmobile out of Fairbanks year-after-year, that area (Units 20A and 20B) is still considered to have a high wolf density for Interior Alaska, probably because it also has higher moose density — so you may be right that even liberal trapping on top of hunting may not reduce wolves much in the NRM region.

            I’ve seen a slide show by Dave Person who does pretty much all the wolf research in this region, mostly on Prince of Wales Island studying predator-prey relationships relative to forest habitat. He catches a lot of wolves for collaring by bedding traps right on the shoulder of logging roads — obviously with some kind of attractant, as it is a broad travel area.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            Great article – thanks for that link! I’m a rank amateur compared to the trapper in the article, but the techniques are similar everywhere – although I’ve never tried ground sets in the snow. And we would never use snares for research trapping – there’s been some experimentation with cable restraints in winter, but in the WGL the problem is that they’re the right size to catch deer, the most abundant similar-sized animal on the landscape.

            We too, use logging roads extensively – wolves love them and frequently use them as convenient territorial boundaries. Everyone has their favorite attractant – some mix their own, and I don’t know how they can stand it. Not having the patience nor the desire to mix up something that reeks that badly, I buy mine off the shelf – wolves seem to enjoy the store-bought stuff just fine. Regardless of what scent bait you use, if you get any on your clothes you’ll want to burn them.

      • avatar Alan says:

        “The elk may be around, but they are hiding on steeper ground, in the thick timber/brush, and at higher elevations…” In other words, elk are being elk and not just standing around stream bottoms waiting to be shot. I can understand the frustration, I really enjoy seeing elk when I hike. Nowadays if I’m lucky enough to see some they take off in a flash, even in Yellowstone where in the past they would stand there and stare at you, they are gone in a hot flash in the back country. Once in awhile, both in the Park and in the N.F., I will still stumble on a huge herd, so I know they are still around. I miss the old days, but this is more natural.
        Has anyone seen or heard anything new about the possible death-by-bear on the Mary Mountain trail? Specifically, whether they have yet determined for sure if a bear was responsible?

    • avatar Bob says:

      Part of the reason your seeing elk is a problem the local biologist pointed out. Wolves on private ground get in trouble and get removed, so where do the elk go?
      The other problem is imports like you, they love wolves hate ranchers so what happens, we get old and tired of fighting. We sell out the land gets developed more imports. They all want to live here but when they get here they want to change Montana. Think us ole boys been doing it wrong. So if its so wrong why do you want to live here. You imports are so smart and the rest of us red necks really had this place all screwed-up.

      • avatar jon says:

        Bob Fanning, you should talk. You are an IMPORT yourself. Isn’t that right Mr. Chicago?

        • avatar Bob says:

          I know your palms are sweaty are you heart is racing but it seems anyone can post as Bob. Don’t know what kind of thing you have for Fanning but I still post under Bob, May have to change it to Rancher Bob so I can channel all that hate.

          • avatar jon says:

            My mistake, Bob Fanning sometimes posts on here as “Bob”. Rancher Bob would be a better name for you so people don’t get you confused with Fanning. Just a thought.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            Apparently you have never read any of Fannings posts……

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Just a guess, but with the heavy snows this year, did the elk remain or move to the lower ground that included this “private”land?

        • avatar Bob says:

          In my country the elk move to lower ground every year. The thought was elk find private ranches with less hunting pressure they will also find areas with less wolf pressure. Areas where wolf packs have been removed.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            I’m aware that elk move to lower ground in Winter, just wondering though because it has been brought up here and elsewhere that it seemed as though the elk were lingering. Heavy snow loads, or wolves?

          • avatar Bob says:

            Have to guess the grass because we had both late spring and wolves with nothing up high for either to eat.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        So tell me Bob, how does that work? You have to be a 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation Montanan BEFORE you’re allowed, as a landowner, to have a thought in your head in these parts regarding present day issues?

        Guessing, just because of your arrogant attitude, you’ve been around long enough to take pride in how your ancestors “shaped” this part of the country?

        Like the destruction of ANY wildlife that dared to interfere with your way of making a living?

        Got a problem with predators? Call WS! Just a phone call away and they’ve got millions to spend, keeping you happy.

        Got a ranch? Get in line – huge subsidies (as $$) are being handed out left and right each year by the government, also there to keep you happy.

        I’m sure Mark Gamblin would refer to my thoughts as “sour grapes” but fact is, its been a nice relationship, for years, with the government (and their seemingly endless resources $$) and now us “imports” are starting to question the awful waste of wildlife and, the waste of taxpayer’s dollars, making you happy 🙂

        So Bob, been around from day one in these parts or are you willing to concede to the fact that you also fall under the catagory of an “import?”

        • avatar willam huard says:

          Ouch! That’s gotta hurt

        • avatar Jerry Black says:

          Can’t wait to see Bubba’s, whoops, I mean Bob’s reply to Nancy.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            Remember one thing Jerry. Bob has stated previously that he owns 5000 acres of Rocky Montana Front land. At $2500 an acre that is $12,500,000, that is right Twelve million five hundred thousands dollars. There is not a person on this blog who would not love to own his acreage, not one.

            The man with the money and land make the rules, that rule has been around for a thousand years and is as true today as it was 500 years ago. There are a number of people on this blog who dislike to hate owners of large parcels of land.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            The information highway has opened up the Middle East like never before. I’d hope that some of the lessons learned in Egypt, Libya, Syria might be observed and learned here. Yes, it’s still BS walks and money talks, but Bob is still one and only one man. Other than the ability to put folks to work, and hold Sway over his own domain, granted larger than anyone else’s posting here, he is of no more importance than you or me or anyone else who participates in this blog. The only thing money gives you is you don’t have to worry about money like most other folks.

            Not meant as an insult to Bob. Take it as a compliment.

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            I am happy that people like bob keep there ranches intact. Imagine if he decided to break it up into 20 acre “ranchettes”! It is so important to keep these ranches intact to keep from fragmenting the West even more.
            These elk feed lots have come about for a reason…Much of it due to the fact that large ranches subdivided there land-much of it prime winter habitat. We should be fighting to keep these ranches in tact, not bashing them.

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            With a lot of these ranch owners “land rich money poor” comes to mind. A family friend owns a huge ranch out of Burns, Oregon but he is nowhere near rich. In fact he drives an older pickup and atv than me. The ranch has been passed down from one generation to the next. I’m thankful he continues to try to run the ranch rather than take the easy way out-subdividing it and becoming land poor and money rich. Bye bye prime winter habitat for wildlife.

          • avatar Alan says:

            “The man with the money and land make the rules…” Gosh, and here I was under the impression that it was one man, one vote! I thought that was what that whole Revolution thing was all about. Huh!

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            This is the quote from paul I referred to.

            ***When arguments arise that the Feds put wolves there to change their way of life and eliminate hunting, that paranoia***

        • avatar Paul says:

          Great post Nancy. I could never get over how hypocritical many of these anti-Fed types are. They are the first to complain about the federal government trampling on their “rights,” yet they are right there to suck up those subsidies or take advantage of programs like the so called “Wildlife Services.” With all of this talk about cutting budgets, and the demonization of public employees, I find it astounding that almost no one questions programs that only benefit ranching and hunting interests. To think that our tax money funds programs that offer wholesale slaughter of wildlife just to appease a small number of interests sickens me.

          I am also tired of how these people always fall back on “States Rights” when they want to justify anything that is morally or ethically questionable, like the slaughter of wolves. The cry of “States Rights” was also used to justify slavery thus leading to the Civil War. Again slavery was an abhorrent practice that benefited only a wealthy few, yet the ignorant populous bought its justification hook, line, and sinker under the banner of “States Rights.” I see the exact same thing in this country today with the Tea Party and their ilk, especially when it comes to their persecution of wildlife.

          • avatar WM says:


            ++The cry of “States Rights” was also used to justify slavery thus leading to the Civil War.++

            Since it appear you are short on facts, but not on strong opinions, we can only hope you will make an effort to get the facts straight. Some of this crowd is pretty gullible. Lets go with a short history lesson, shall we.

            The American Civil War had several causes. States’ rights, as it turns out was not one of them. You have the words here wrong. Slavery was a cause, one of many, not states rights. States ceceded from the Union because those were the political subdivisions that provided the basis for doing so. It was the exercise of slavery that included the ability of slave owners to cross state lines with their “property” that was at issue. States rights was not a cause of the civil war. So, let’s not be a history revisionist.

            May I suggest this book and NPR interview to broaden your knowledge:


            And you should know that even in the beginning of the United States as the Articles of Confederation (drafted at at a time when the colonies were in need of increased cooperatin with each other – an idea of Ben Franklin) was being abandoned in favor of the more comprehensive US Constitution, the ratification process where states signed on to be a part of the United States (emphasis on both terms “united” and “states”) there were concerns about how states carried on in this unity. For that you might find some of the Federalist Papers (anonymously written by Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay, who was to be the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President George Washington).

            And just to drive the point home, Paul, if you ever have read the Endangered Species Act, do pay careful attention to Section 6 – Cooperation with States (and those sub-sections which cross reference that obligation).

            You can read the act here:


            Before you go spouting off, do pay attention to history AND how we became the United States, and how we still operate under the Constitution and laws passed by Congress(which by the way is composed of representation from ….the states). Otherwise you look as uninformed as your conversational partner, jon.

          • avatar Paul says:

            WM, did I say that the the cry of states rights was the only cause of the Civil War? No, I did not. I could have written a long dissertation that outlined what led to it, but I decided that short and sweet was the way to go. I said that it was an excuse that many in the South used to justify slavery, thus leading to the Civil War. Was it the only cause? Of course not. For the past decade I have spent at least a month of every year in Georgia. Even today many Southerners look at the “War of Northern Aggression” as being a states rights issue, particularly when it comes to issues such as slavery and segregation. They just do not want the “Feds” to have any say in how they live. If you deny that much of the populous out West have a similar view on the Federal government today, you are the one who is uninformed.

            Regarding the states and the Endangered Species Act. I said nothing about states not being allowed to have any involvement with the act. What I did say is that the states, especially in the West, use these powers granted to them to justify their persecution of wildlife, especially predators. When arguments arise that the Feds put wolves there to change their way of life and eliminate hunting, that paranoia bears a striking resemblance to the arguments used prior to the War in the South.

            I thought this blog as with most blogs are a way to share opinions and ideas, not to bash people for not aligning to another’s “facts?” As a longtime student of American and World history it has been commonly accepted that States Rights was ONE of the issues that led to the Civil War. You cited one article from an NPR blog that gives your side of the argument. The opinion of one author was cited. I guess in your view that means that because one author or scholar has a view on a historical event that is different than the mainstream it must be “fact.” So does that mean that the 9/11 conspiracy nuts in academia must be right because they wrote a book about it? Talk about being a history revisionist! This topic can be argued all day, but don’t make comments about me being a “history revisionist” when that is exactly what you are doing when it comes to the War by using one article from an NPR blog to justify your view. I can find hundreds to justify mine.

            You say that I am short on “facts” and am uniformed when it comes to these issues. I am simply stating my views and opinions from experience just as you are doing. I would also suggest that you look at some of your own postings before you talk about someone “spouting off” while being uninformed.

          • avatar willam huard says:

            WM does that to everyone. You’ll get used to it

          • avatar WM says:


            ++What I did say is that the states, especially in the West, use these powers granted to them to justify their persecution of wildlife, especially predators. ++

            You still don’t get it, so head back to the books, and apparently you do not understand the federal-state relationship. Let me offer one more very basic starting point for you. There is no grant of powers to the states. They have them, unless specifically taken away by the Constitution or an act of Congress.

            Those powers which are not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved to the states (see Constitution especially Section 8 which gives the enumerated powers of Congress, including amendment thereto, and specific enactments of Congress).

            ++The cry of “States Rights” was also used to justify slavery thus leading to the Civil War.++

            These are your exact words from your earlier post. I had trouble understanding whay you were trying to say. Here is why. States rights WERE NOT used to justify slavery. Slavery existed (even in the north, but was in decline due to enlightenment and the abolitionist movement). You have the concept backwards. And, the NPR interview was about a very recent history book by a credible author who carefully examined the leading causes of the Civil War at the time of the war by Southern leaders seeking to build concensus to cecede from the Union, not looking backward as your current Georgia friends do. In fact, that was the purpose of the book. There are other authoritative sources out there, as well, so I am not going to do your research for you (you are as lazy as jon and Phil).

            As for my knowledge of the West, I have lived here most of my life in several different states. I have had occasion to deal with federal – state relationships quite a bit, as a science trained administrator in government, and later as a lawyer.

            And last, Paul, having opinions is great, but unless you base them on facts, be willing to accept challenges to their foundations.



            ++WM does that to everyone.++

            Not everyone. I only tend to challenge a few of you emotional types when start your rants, usually with your version of facts or an interpretation of law you cannot support.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:


            All the other stuff aside, this is the one thing I never really understood about the antis

          • avatar Paul says:

            WM, What a condescending and arrogant response. I will let the scholars and history books speak for themselves on this issue. The point that I was making is that many states and movements such as the Confederacy will use arguments like states rights to soften the blow of what their real intentions are or were. For the Confederacy it was slavery. For many modern Westerners it is the intent to exterminate wolves. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens tried to use the argument AFTER the war that they were justified to go to war based on states rights when the real issue indeed was slavery as said by him DURING the war. This shows that AFTER the war they tried to JUSTIFY an act that was morally wrong like starting a war. I was using an analogy that modern day apologists also try to use arguments like this to JUSTIFY legal, but ethically and morally questionable acts like wanting to exterminate wolves. I was comparing this attitude to the modern view among many anti-Fed types. WM, You may believe that you have all of the answers and are always right, but facts go both ways.

            Does anyone else understand the point that I am trying to make regarding past and present JUSTIFICATIONS for legal, but morally and ethically questionable acts.

          • avatar JB says:


            If you’re going to lecture people about getting their facts straight, you might consider choosing a topic other than history. (You can find a historian that will argue just about anything). Regardless, a bit of research reveals a number of folks have suggested states’ rights was one of the causes of the civil war:


            It seems some historians contend that it was slavery, not states’ rights that caused the civil war; but there is no question that states’ rights were used as an argument for continuing the practice of slavery–which, if you look back, was Paul’s original point.

            I don’t claim to be a scholar of the civil war (and I am happy to let the historian’s write the history). However, there is no question that the states’ rights argument is playing an important role in the debate about wolves in the West.

        • avatar Bob says:

          destruction of wildlife really every animal here 200 years ago still here
          WS only comes when predators kill some cattle
          We also discussed and already proved cattle ranchers don’t get subsidies other than maybe cheap grass.
          so others maybe impressed by your propaganda but please.
          Also how many times do I have to say I lease the ranch. Also proud how the state is and it’s wildlife.
          And yes even the indians were imports.

          • avatar Bob says:

            Sorry I should have said beef cattle producers receive no gov’t subsidies so you won’t be confused with sheep again.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            +We also discussed and already proved cattle ranchers don’t get subsidies other than maybe cheap grass.
            so others maybe impressed by your propaganda but please+

            Take a look again Bob, recognize any livestock raisers?


            I see payments for: livestock disaster, emergency livestock feed, livestock compensation, listed under more than a few of these recipients.

            And since when are sheep NOT considered livestock?

  86. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Seems like as good a place and time to unload something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while, regarding apex predators and big game management and recent history.

    My opinions about the conflict between the hunting public competing for ” their ” elk with a top tier predator, the Grey Wolf, trying to make a living off some of the same elk, will usually come around to the contemporary state of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model begun by Teddy Roosevelt, et al, back at the turn of the last century. The modern sport hunter – and especially the big hunting organizations like Safari Club, RMEF, Boone & Crockett, and even Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife when they aren’t lobbying – always hold up the North American Model as some kind of holy scripture. As if to go against it is blasphemy. ( I will largely exclude the subsistence hunter from this thread of discussion , whom I wholly support, the guy trying to feed his family and fill the chest freezer. The anti-wolf cabal seems to be vocally and rhetorically enumerated by the sport and trophy hunters, not subsistence hunters. The guys who want the biggest male animals with the biggest horns crowd , or are living out the fantasies they read in the magazines. Again , I have little or no issue with the meat hunter when it comes to wolves or anything else ).

    Saint Teddy’s ” North American Wildlife Conservation Model ” was very much a necessary thing… 100 years ago. The previous generation of shooters—the great great grandads of today’s elite Great White Hunters — had all but destroyed America’s wild game beginning with the colonization of the eastern seaboard in the 1600’s. Case in point: By the late 1800’s the population of elk that once numbered 10-12 million and ranged from the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts all the way to the Pacific coast had been genocidally shot down to a couple hundred thousand animals pushed into the high country. Nearly 97 percent of the elk herds had been eliminated , quantitatively , and qualitatively they were sent on a diaspora deep into the mountains to hide. This deplorable patter was repeated across a multitude of species, perhaps most dramatically in the slaughter of 60 million Bison. We call this era in American sporting lore the Market Hunting era.

    Saint Teddy had to rally the troops to save what was left of North America’s wild animals of worth , and it took hold nicely. For a good 75 years or so, America’s big game animals slowly repopulated under the stewardship of hunters , but also with the help of many other groups and stakeholders, not the least of which were public land agencies and the states themselves who became proactive about wildlife conservation. The era of wholesale taking of wild game was replaced with measured hunts and a conservation ethic , to the extent necessary. Most of us who write in here have seen direct evidence of this umbrella program to save wildlife. Today’s elk populations in the Lower 48 have rebounded to about 750,000 animals… all the way up to 7 percent of their former numbers.

    The North American Wildlife Conservation Model was created and enforced with great peer pressure to recover and restore wildlife , all the while allowing for some managed hunts of same. All of this peaked in a time frame I assess as being in the 1950’s , the Golden Era of Big Game Hunting , at least as I observed it here in my beloved Rocky Mountains surrounding Yellowstone in northwest Wyoming. Varies by geographic circumstance I would guess. I only know Wyoming.

    When we fast forward to today , a century after St. Teddy’s congregation started national wildlife conservation , we can take a good hard look at the North American Wildlife Conservation Model and assess it going forward. Here is where I very much part ways with the trophy and sport hunters in the 21st century world of Wyoming.

    The NAWCM was good, but not perfect. While it held up ” conservation” as a primary goal, it did not do so with the science of ecology at the fore. Rather, animals such as elk were manipulated to produce ever increasing yields of huntable elk, always a few more elk this year than last after the harvests ( or rather every 5 years or so after allowing for the downward spikes of the effects of severe winters or other stresses on game populations . Remember, it’s about populations of animals, not individual animals). Nothing was said done or deferred to in the NAWCM about predators and the predator-prey relationship being essential to healthy sustainable wild ungulate populations … animals that had evolved alongside each other for thousands of years with relatively little interference by Man. If you doubt this, look to the elk populations of east central Asia, where out own North American elk migrated from across the Beringia land bridge several Ice Ages ago. The same species of elk we hunt in Wyoming exists in far larger numbers in Asia, right alongside a docket of predators that will make your head spin…several species of bears, and wolves, and even Tigers and Snow Leopards. Asian elk are hunted by subsistence hunters and a few trophy types, but largely they exist in the wild as they have since time immemorial with relatively little hunter pressure. Carnivores have not extincted the Herbivores. They won’t , left to their own form of ” management”.

    Back here in the USA and the Northern Rockies , it is clear to my mind that the North American Wildlife Conservation Model had a shelf life and has , in fact , expired. It served its purpose. It rebuilt America’s herds , brought them back from the chasm. But did it do it right ?

    Fair question. I say no. ( Heretic! ) What I see in Wyoming today are great numbers of wild elk. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s own recent elk census shows every herd in my area of NW Wyoming is well above objective , by something like 15 percent. Yet they also tell you those herds are out of balance and calf recruitment and especially trophy bull recruitment are well under where they would like them to be. Plenty of elk , just not yielding those lucrative trophy heads for the blueblood hunters.

    Why ? Well, I’ve give you a lot of reasons having to do with habitat fragmentation ( read: development , subdivisions, energy exploration ) ; human population increasing without controls or ” conversation ” ; fencing and property ‘ issues’ ; agriculture and especially Cattle Baron style ‘ Landed Aristochracy’ ranching ; domination of water and riparian resources by a single species ( us) ; and not the least Climate Change. Deniers to any or all the afore, quit reading here.

    What has accumulated over the past 50 years is a diversion from genuine conservation of wildlife and other resources. By 1960 the NAWCM had done is work. Witness the gross overpopulation of elk in northern Yellowstone, starving.

    Yet Wyoming G&F and other state agencies continue to manage for artifical high yields of huntable game. They do this primarily for money and to appease their constituents, the hunting public. It
    ‘s been a difficult thought to digest , but my Wyo G&F long ago quit managing big game for the benefit of the animal itself. They are, after all, GAME managers, not wildlife conservators. Nor ecologists. ( sorry! ) Therein lies the critical difference, the divergence from the ideal. We manage ungulates for human harvest by human means using human values and human tools. We shoved the wolf and other predators off to the side or just plain eradicated them . Big mistake on the part of both state game agencies and the ranchers who usurped the resource for their own purposes rather than the long term sustainable dynamic of wild animal propagation. This was supported by the public, who didn;t know any better. The real conservationists and those who understood ecology as it applied on the top deck where the wildlife lived were not heeded. Aldo Leopold told us everything we needed to know back in 1949 , for instance.

    Instead, we managed for what amounted to ” Put and Take ” elk hunts , keeping the September-October herd counts on a high plateau so everyone could get off a shot , in my local case using Yellowstone Park as an elk factory.

    But two things definitely were coalescing to threaten the elk health: we took away the natural predators of the elk , and we really REALLY screwed up the genetics and replenishment by overhunting prime bulls and changing the demographics of the native herds. Local elk herds ( nonmigratory ) were victim of fratricide, for instance. Relentless trophy hunting.

    Of course many other factors come into play. The matrix is huge and complicated , in magnitude and ways the instigators of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model could not have forseen , since ‘ecology’ and the ‘predator-prey relationship’ were not in their vernacular in a nation that had a mere quarter of the population it does today that still traveled largely by horse and was largely rural and communicated by telegraph and mail carrier.

    It is not Teddy Roosevelt’s America any longer. And I fully admit that none of us can hope to return to Pre-Columbian America , even in the wilderness areas or National parks – which are not wilderness, in Yellowstone’s case they more resemble theme parks. All we can hope for is we collectively set our sights on a new star to guide us.

    Version 2.0 of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model must include ecology , predators, flexibility, and NOT be based on human hunting coming and going. Sorry guys. But if you can’t stomach that , then we need to retire the model and thank it for its service.

    The last heretical statement I’m going to make in this missive is a doozie: Where I live in Wyoming, on the frontier of Yellowstone at the foot of the Absaroka Mountains , one thing is plainly apparent to me. We simply have too many licensed big game outfitters , all trying to make a financial living in the era of the recovered Grizzly bear and the mostly recovered Grey Wolf.

    Version 2.0 of the NAWCM assigns the greater responsibilty for wildlife conservation to nonhumans from here forward. There are plenty of elk to meet the needs of the subsistence hunter , be he/she of two legs or four. But managing your game populations for money and sport is no longer acceptable as the primary driver.

    It’s time to finally dispense with the notion that ” your” elk is waiting for you out there. They are “our” elk , and they belong as much if not moreso to the Wolf and the Great Bear. They are not ” your ” elk, Mr. RMEF and SFW and SCI and B&C guy. Copy of Memo to Gamblin at IDFG and any WFG and Mt-FWP representatives. And especially the stockgrowers. Especially.

    Version 2.0 of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model requires full reinstatement of Grey Wolves and Grizzly Bears et al , with privileges.


    • avatar Bob says:

      Again someone who thinks there is a magic wand and the wolf population will vanish. I agree with most of your points but lets see a couple years of hunting and you will see wolves are here to stay. Look at wolf history in other countries wolves are here to stay even with current RM state regulations.

    • avatar WM says:


      Something out of whack when a grizzly bear population gets trimmed about 10% of its total every year (last year was something like 13%), when it gets in trouble with people and kills or injures a few unsuspecting humans every year. I think there is this yearning for grizzlies by some that will not easily match what we have for habitat for them to successfully co-exist with humans. I am inclined to reluctantly think we are about at a human-griz co-existence carrying capacity, unless we come up with more protected habitat.

      As for wolves, in the NRM,I think we are slightly over human-wolf threshold carrying capacity that is sustainable, at least in ID and MT. As for giving up more elk harvest by hunters in favor of those who want wolves – good luck with that. Nearly 200 wolves within YNP just five or so years ago, now down to less than 100 wolves, because they have gone through the elk there (I am guessing that has also negatively affected the wolf watching opportunities trimming down to less than 100), are not inclined to start working on bison or deer so much (if present).

      A self-sustaining NRM wolf population of around 1,000 is enough, along with about 700 grizzlies. Move some grizzlies and wolves to CO, if you want more. Let’s see how that plays out, and how well they are received there. Sorry, I don’t really think the NAWCM needs a version 2.0 (as you envision it), with privileges for wolves and bears at higher densities in the NRM (except maybe WY). It will be very uncomfortable for some many reasons we have discussed here.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      CC – Thank you for taking the time to put into words what many of us feel, when it comes to whats left of wildlife, in wilderness areas.

    • avatar Elk275 says:


      ++Version 2.0 of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model must include ecology , predators, flexibility, and NOT be based on human hunting coming and going. Sorry guys. But if you can’t stomach that , then we need to retire the model and thank it for its service.++

      The minute the North American Wildlife Conservation Model is retired is the minute that wildlife on private land becomes property of the landowner. There are thousands of landowners in the North Rocky Mountains who if given the chance would privatize all wildlife on their lands and manage it for profit.

      You must have spent most of last night writing your editorial. I hate outfitters, I have worked for them and been their client and seen it both ways.

      I highly agree with you on about 80% of it. The elk are not “our” elk they are the property of the states regardless of any prior or future court cases. There is no way the federal government is going to declare ownership of wildlife on federal lands in todays political climate. Somethings are not going to happen today, tomorrow, but, maybe in 50 years.

      • avatar CodyCoyote says:

        P.S. I attended the Cody public meeting last Thursday where Wyo G&F discussed their version 2.0 of the faulty 2008 Wyoming Wolf Management Plan which is now all but sure to become law and policy in the coming months. Just waiting for the sound of the thunking Rubber Stamps in Cheyenne. Our state game commission has scheduled a whopping 5 DAYs between the close of public comments on Sept 9 and their September 14 meeting when they will very likely approve that plan. 5 whole days to chew on the public opinion and digest it. Rubber Stamps or Steamrollers… choose your political tool.

        Which is why I wrote that missive on the North American wildlife conservation model on Sunday morning.

        Wyo G&F in presenting their version 2.0 of the old plan seems to have a newfound love for science, especially genetic dispersal of wolves. It was mostly what they talked about at the meeting, even though they could not ( would not ? ) say whose idea the ” Flex Zone” was allowing wolves to make it into eastern Idaho in early winter if they need to find a mate. Other than that , the ” new” Wyoming plan is worse than the old plan becuase it carves the predator status into stone in 85 percent of the state, and also makes the boundary of the Trophy Wolf Zone inviolate till the end of time. It will never change…cannot be changed. It’s as strong as a state line. So my Wyo G&F will be repeating the same mistake using virtually the same artificial boundary currently employed in ” managing” grizzly bears. ( I could write for days on this, too )

        If only Wyoming had this deep dedication to science about 10 years back…

        The other keystone assertion in the ” new” Wyoming plan is that G&F really truely believes that public hunting will be the primary tool of wolf control in the near future. Notwithstanding they have no funding in sight for actually running a wolf management program, the notion that the public will do their wolf control for them is laughable on several planes and points. Not that Wildlife Services is going away . Au contraire, WS will get lucrative new contracts with Wyo G&F to do the wet work of wolf management above and beyond their strictly agricultural beck and call to ranchers , which will not change. Wyo G&F will be hiring Wildlife Services extensively as needed. I’m sure the state Legislature won;t have any trouble finding a few million dolalrs laying around for paying the hit men , and will certainl.y come running on short notice if Governor Madd Meat —excuse me, Matt Mead— has to call a special session to rubber stamp the new wolf plan . It would take all of 15 minutes, then they could all fly off to Hawaii for some more ‘edjikashun’ .

        Carter Niemeyer, we need you now more than ever. In Wyoming. To educate.

        I guess my question remains, ” How do we get apex predators and meso-predators the status and privileges they deserve in an integrated wildlife conservation ethic going forward, since they were banished by the North American model a hundred years ago ? ” It’s a fair and open question.

    • avatar JB says:


      It is refreshing to find someone who can see both the drawbacks and benefits of the model. Hopefully, the conservation community will find a path that allows for the NAM to be adapted to the continued benefit of both people and wildlife…

      Thanks for sharing your critique.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Harley – there are a couple of young black bears just up the valley from me, who’ve been getting into all sorts of mischief, knocking over trashcans, showing up at all hours of the day around places, and one got a lot of attention recently when it quietly walked up behind a neighbor, working on his deck, and….. licked his leg, OH MY GOSH!!

      Neighbors went into overdrive, describing that little episode, worried about who’d next, subjected to such unexpected encounters, even though many of them chose to build… right up to wilderness areas.

      • avatar Harley says:

        Licked his leg! lol! I probably would have died of a heart attack and not because it was a bear! Just the fact that it was a lick to the back of my leg unexpectedly! I’m sorry, I’m still laughing about that and I have to stop because I’m in a public place and I’m getting some very odd looks…

        I think though that being bit and being licked are two very different things and that it happened to a little one makes it a bit more serious. There have been a couple of incidents of coyotes being bold enough to approach and bite a couple of young children this summer. Most of these have been in unexpected areas. Bold coyotes or irresponsible humans? Or a blend of both? They also stated in that link that there is a new development that is driving the coyotes into established neighborhoods, I’m sure that has contributed to this particular encounter.

        I think there is one reality that must be faced. More and more open lands are going to be developed. No matter how much it sucks to see wide open spaces get filled up, it’s a reality that is here to stay. The question is, what is the best way to deal with the displacement of the animals from the developing area to minimize negative contact with human populations. I think there is a big difference between living in the suburbs or even urban areas as opposed to someone who moves to a more rural setting. My feeling is that if you are living in a suburban or urban area, you would have every right to feel a bit disconcerted when wildlife invades your property. Isn’t that kinda like what people say the animals feel like when their area is encroached by developers?
        However, on the same hand, if you choose to move to a more rural setting, you should know what you are getting yourself into. It’s kinda like a marriage, you really shouldn’t try to change your spouse once you’re married… 🙂

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Harley – yes, I also found it amusing given the fact that this was a big, burly guy and he probably outweighed this little bear by a 100 lbs.

          And, the debate will continue to rage on when it comes to the destruction of natural habitat (probably more so in your area) and wildlife making appearances where least expected because of that destruction.

          +My feeling is that if you are living in a suburban or urban area, you would have every right to feel a bit disconcerted when wildlife invades your property+

          Begs the question Harley – Who’s under attack? The wildlife that once roamed freely over much of this planet, and their natural abilities to keep things in check?…….or our species, and our TOTAL lack of abilities to rein in our populations and recognize the destruction we’ve done to those other species.
          We’ve become a nation where pesticides (on every level imaginable) are the norm………

          • avatar Harley says:

            The debate of who was here first isn’t one I’m willing to get into. When I stated that, I was thinking that the city of Chicago has been here a long time. The suburb I live in was established over a hundred years ago. People who have been here generations or even those just moving into the area are doing so because it’s an established community. It’s not like it’s someplace in the Alaskan wilds. Therefore, they have a right to feel as if they are under attack if in fact the wild life is causing problems. When you get an animal that is BITING children, that crosses a line. And believe me, I don’t give a darn if that animal doing the biting is a coyote, a wolf, my neighbors pet dog, or even some cat. That’s being under attack. And people have the right to action on something like that. Just to be clear, if an animal isn’t aggressive, there’s no reason to go after it. Leave it be. Only take action when that animal makes the first hostile move.
            While I realize there are a lot of butt heads out there, the tone of your rebuttal makes me think you’d be very happy if there weren’t any cities or ‘burbs or throngs of people. Are you for the kind of policies that China enacts, only one child per family to help keep the population in check? That makes me as uncomfortable as those who call for the total annihilation of any species. Sorry, I’m a human and I kinda take that sort of thing to heart.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          +While I realize there are a lot of butt heads out there, the tone of your rebuttal makes me think you’d be very happy if there weren’t any cities or ‘burbs or throngs of people. Are you for the kind of policies that China enacts, only one child per family to help keep the population in check? That makes me as uncomfortable as those who call for the total annihilation of any species. Sorry, I’m a human and I kinda take that sort of thing to heart+

          Harley – I’m always amazed how uncomfortable people get when the subject of keeping OUR populations in check comes up even though we have no problem managing & controlling other non-human populations.

          It seems to me, there is one major reason – ignorance (two if you consider religious influence) which result in a total lack of concern for the enviornment around us. There’s enough information out there as to why its important to start discussions now on making an effort to rein in our population growth.

  87. avatar WM says:

    This is a bit off track, but deals with that romantic notion of Native Americans, their roots and their noble ancestry and ethics some of us love to bring up. I have said in reply, we should look to the individual tribes and how they respect other tribes, wildlife, and the dignity and fairness in their conduct as they carry on as sovereign nations.

    Here is a new twist, and enough to gag a maggot in the 21st Century of enlightenment and racial equality.

    The Cherokee Nation just voted to disenfranchise “Freedmen” (Black slaves of wealthy Cherokees given their freedom and status in the tribe in 1863).

    After 140 years of honoring the status of Freedmen, the greed of casino revenues is leading this “noble” tribe to cut their Black brothers loose. How is that for ethics and “fair dealings” as a sovereign nation within the US?

    Very interesting reading.

    • avatar Paul says:

      Now, WM you emotional types shouldn’t rant when you don’t have all of the facts. Sound familiar? Where are your “facts” that casino greed has anything to do with this? Opinion, yes. Facts, no. Gee, it sounds like this quote would apply to that:

      “And last, Paul, having opinions is great, but unless you base them on facts, be willing to accept challenges to their foundations.”

      The way that I look at it is that the wishes of the “stakeholders” (The Cherokee) decided that the views of the Freedmen did not fit into their tribal “management” plan. They took their views into account but decided to take the most reasonable approach for the “stakeholders”. Does this sound familiar to anyone? The majority spoke and just like the NRM wolves, the Freedmen are S.O.L. Sad, but true.

      • avatar wolf moderate says:

        With that reasoning, maybe we as Americans could justify shutting down the Indian Reservations and reparation payments. Times change! If only we could get the “stakeholders (US voting citizens) to get rid of this burden on our society.

        According to John Stossel, we might just be helping them to boot 🙂

        Great documentary…Yes it’s a Fox production.

      • avatar WM says:


        Apparently you did not read page 2 of the article, or your reading comprehension is in need improvement.

        From (p. 2) of the article:

        ++Vann [a disenfranchised descendant of Freedmen who can trace her history back to slave days AND importantly is the lead plaintiff in the class action law suit] … says Cherokee leaders and their families and friends are protecting their interests; that it was about the land and now it’s about the money, especially casino money.

        “Here are these millions of dollars coming in. And I’m the chief. I have my supporters on the council. I have my relatives in certain places. I don’t want these people (Freedmen) voting in these elections. It’s easier to distribute high paying jobs to my supporters. When you’re screaming and making a lot of noise you can keep people from asking questions. You can drown us out.”

        So the Cherokee Nation wants to amend their Constitution which has recognized freed slaves of wealthy Cherokee Indians (yes some had their very own slaves) and treated their descendants as equals for tribal benefits (land, natural resource trust revenues given out from tribal lands or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, casino jobs and profits, etc.) for the last 140 years to cut them off. Where this is going, kind of reminds me of separate but unequal, which surely cannot legally stand outside Cherokee Nation sovereignty, in the United States.

        Now, if you are real interested there are probably lots of court documents that support the plaintiffs contentions about the systematic effort to deny Freedmen jobs in casinos and casino revenues, and an alleged motivation to cut them off. You can start here.

        • avatar WM says:


          Also kind of looks like a case of ethnic superiority, and cleansing.


          Wolf Moderate,

          ++With that reasoning, maybe we as Americans could justify shutting down the Indian Reservations and reparation payments.++

          The federal government tried to walk away from treaty obligations and the concept of reservations from about 1887 with the passage of the Dawes Act, until 1945. This was a period of “assimilation” and selling off some reservation lands (allotments). Clearly it didn’t work.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Apparently your reading skills need improvement because you cannot detect sarcasm when you read it. I must ask, why do you feel the need to belittle people when they disagree with you? I simply pointed out to you that your comments about Cherokee greed were emotional opinion, not fact. The exact same thing you accused me of. Just because something was in a court filing doesn’t mean that it is always 100% factual. If that were the case I am sure that Judge Mallory would have found that disgusting “rider” that was placed into the federal budget unconstitutional based on the filings of pro-wildlife groups.

            For the record I think what the Cherokee are doing is wrong. Slavery, just like the treatment of Native Americans was a deplorable practice that this nation should be forever ashamed of. However, as with wolves in the West the majority made a decision that the rest have to live with whether we like it or not. My wife is part Cherokee with decedents from the Eastern Band, and we will be the first to say that their decision to remove the Freedmen is flat out wrong.

          • avatar WM says:

            ++ I simply pointed out to you that your comments about Cherokee greed were emotional opinion, not fact. ++

            It is not emotion on my part, and I don’t think I even used the term “greed.”

            Rather I chose words like disenfranchisement of Freedmen (which it clearly is) and questioned whether the Cherokee Nation was “ethical” and fair in changing its manner of dealing with its African American members and their descendants for the last century and a half, by not allowing them to vote on tribal matters and otherwise cutting them off, through organic changes to their Constitution. I used the article itself to speculate as to the motivations, including the words of the lead class plaintiff.

            And you can choose to believe the allegations of the complaint or any legal findings. It is either a fact or an alleged fact, based on the claims of the complaint. I don’t know where this case came out at the trial court, but it would appear the plaintiffs won on some claims, and there would likely be a “finding of facts to reach a legal conclusion, since the Cherokee Nation is appealing it. It is a rather complex case, it seems.

            Now, if, for example, the Cherokee Nation can remove from its rolls say a a quarter or a third of its members (those who are Freedmen and I do not know the percentage, just speculating for purposes of example) that would give remaining enrolled members entitled to casino profits a whole lot more $$, proportionally. Furthermore, it appears there has been some “favoritism” for casino jobs for some group within the Cherokee enrolled members. That, would be a statistical argument, and maybe a legal conclusion at some point. It is a form of discrimination (separating people into groups based on different characteristics). Don’t know if it is illegal, and that is what some of the case is all about.

            To use your word (Webster’s says):
            “Greed” = excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness.

            Kind of meets the definition don’t you think, if the facts support it? No emotion there, Paul.

  88. avatar Nancy says:

    +Remember one thing Jerry. Bob has stated previously that he owns 5000 acres of Rocky Montana Front land. At $2500 an acre that is $12,500,000, that is right Twelve million five hundred thousands dollars. There is not a person on this blog who would not love to own his acreage, not one+

    I might be alittle confused when it comes to the “Bobs” posting here Elk but honestly? I could really give a crap if he’s a millionaire or living in a bunk house on some local ranch (rubbed elbows with both since I’ve been in these parts, as I know you have too) fact is the population and attitudes are changing when it comes to the treatment of wildlife, wilderness and public lands.

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      ++fact is the population and attitudes are changing when it comes to the treatment of wildlife, wilderness and public lands.++

      You are right, attitudes are changing but not the way you or I would like. The motorized recreational crowd wants more trails opened up, industry wants logging, drilling and mining. There has been no more wilderness in the Northern Rocky Mountain States in many years. You see this attitude everyday where you live.

      Several years ago I was hunting elk ten plus miles south of your homestead in the Rattlesnake hills, a mile or so south of the Bannock turn off. Four or Five ATV’s pulled up and we started to talk and I mentioned how there should be no ATV’s allowed in this area and that ATV’s should be restricted only to roads that a 4 wheel truck can drive. Within seconds we were in a disagreement, I decided the best thing was to change the conversation topic, but there decided that I was going to listen. The jest of it was “I will drive my ATV where ever I please and don’t you ever try to restrict me regardless of land use regulations. The fat slob and his party drove off overland.

    • avatar Jerry Black says:

      I’d like to recommend a documentary film directed by Tom Shadyk. It’s called “I AM”
      Might give you some idea of the illusion of happiness brought on by $$$$$$$$$.

      • avatar Daniel Berg says:


        This article made a lot of sense to me when I read it:

        “The Perfect Salary for Happiness: $75,000”

        It was a pragmatic analysis of what usually becomes a very idealistic argument. Arguments over whether someone would be happier roaming the earth in a search for the meaning of life, or moving up the corporate ladder at Boeing are highly dependant on the individual involved and their background. This article presents the results of a study that attempts to correlate happiness/income across thousands of wage-earners.

        • avatar Jerry Black says:

          Thanks Daniel……I like it!
          You’ll enjoy “I AM”, I’m sure. Not available yet on Netflix however.

        • avatar Alan says:

          Don’t know about that. I never earned that much in my life and consider myself pretty happy. On the other hand I have a nephew who earns almost exactly that who is divorced and had to file bankruptcy!

  89. avatar Nancy says:

    + The ranch has been passed down from one generation to the next. I’m thankful he continues to try to run the ranch rather than take the easy way out-subdividing it and becoming land poor and money rich. Bye bye prime winter habitat for wildlife+

    Along the same vein Wolf Mod, some ranching friends of mine, sold a sizeable chunk of their land to the Nature Conservancy, rather than have to face the prospect of subdividing it to make ends met. Their land will continue to be their land as long as its passed down to family. Another reasonable approach to prime habitat for wildlife?

    • avatar wolf moderate says:


      Of course that is even better. Anything is better than subdividing ranches and turning everything into what Darby to Glacier park is. Sad state of affairs that has/is happening.

      • avatar Mike says:

        It’s shocking how ugly and maimed that stretch of road is. I thought I was driving down Roosevelt Road in Illinois.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Wolf Mod,

        You wouldn’t be referring to the lovely Bitterroot Valley, would you (Darby)? With our new “Republican Revolution” commissioners that never saw a subdivision they didn’t like, or any other “development” for that matter.

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      Did they sell it or put a conservation easement on it? All conservation easements are different and in order to understand what they say one has to read the recorded easement in the court house.

    • avatar WM says:

      An earlier companion editorial piece that suggests Teaparty thinking is losing momentum as “common sense” comes to light (we can only hope this trend continues).

      • avatar Daniel Berg says:

        The tea-party sealed it’s fate back when much of its local and national leadership came to power by shouting the loudest. Picture taking the loudest and most emotional slob at an IDFG meeting and making him head of your local chapter X10,000.

        I would guess that over time the politicians who were originally elected through tea party momentum will pluck certain ideals from the movement and distance themselves without actually disavowing the party.

  90. avatar jon says:

    “It (the plan) is fundamentally and irredeemably flawed,” said Chuck Neal of Cody, who attended the meeting. “They’re treating it (wolves) as some exotic virus and they must keep this virus near the park.”

    “The state is controlled by the livestock industry,” Neal said.
    Cattle should not have carte blanche on public lands. Grazing rights on public lands are a privilege, not a right. Wolf depredations can’t be used as justification to remove wolves on public land, Neal said.”

  91. avatar Mike says:

    I’m becoming convinced that we’re at the point where most hunting is just plain unethical. The human population is too high, and we’ve got too many toys that divide and penetrate the sanctuary of wildlife. The encroachment of civilization and ATV-driving hunters with electronic calls, hi-tech scents, astronomy level rifle scopes and all kinds of other crap is worse now than I’ve seen it in twenty years. We’re going to need huge non-hunting zones and unmotorized zones to keep any kind of sane balance.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Nice points Mike and if you’ve got the time (and the stomach) check out this site:

      Lots of like minded people assembled there when it comes to killing “things”….. because you can. Check out the Hatebook section.

      • avatar Alan says:

        People who post on and write sites like that do it for one reason, Nancy; shock value. They live to freak out people like you and me. They are just a bunch of boys on the playground eating their own snots.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Eating their own snots Alan, but also drawing in a lot of other “snot eating” playground boys………. with guns, who having nothing better to do with their time except kill things.

          Just me, or are you not seeing a connection (release) between (and depending on the frustration levels and locality) when it comes to being able to blow things away?

          • avatar Mike says:

            Nancy –

            Each year I return from the Northern Rockies in awe of the flora and fauna, and also perplexed by many of the locals. I see people driving by me at 90 mph in huge pickups and SUV’s, and at those speeds probably getting 9-10 MPG. I watch them pull into yards strewn with other junk and into driveways attached to houses that are worth less than the trucks they drive. Many of these trucks have anti-wildlife stickers. I don’t understand how these people pay for the gas, or even these brand new pickups (not to mention the RV’s they have on their property). Every year someone pulls into a campground I’m at with a $30,000 truck towing an RV and four ATV’s, then asks me if I have any beer to give them, and even gas money. They always, always have Montana or Idaho plates. I don’t grasp their logic. It doesn’t make any sense to me. What are they doing? Why are they collecting all this crap and towing it across the state when they can’t even pay their bills?

            It’s s strange culture, one that isn’t exactly reality-based. These same bizarre customs trickle right down to how wildlife is treated. I saw someone swerve at a painted turtle near the Bison Range and kill it. I watched a truck full of grown men slam on its brakes and reach for rifles when they spotted a coyote (I folllowed suit and informed them you can’t shoot from a vehicle, and the coyote got away).

            Whether or not a large portion of hunters are “ethical” is irrelvent. Our population continues to push into the last wildlife sanctuaries, and this by definition is unethical. There’s too many people, with too many ATV’s and trucks, with too much technology. The wildlife never gets a break unless its fortunate enough to live in places like the Absaroka-Beartooth or the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness.

            All of this becomes so clear when you drive across the country, and you realize how far and few between the roadless country is. We’re everywhere, attacking, attacking attacking–spraying pesticides, killing things, roaring along on motors, shining lights everywhere, shooting guns, chopping shit down, just an angry, unending swarm of madness upon the landscape. We need a “time out” for our wildlife and wild areas.

          • avatar Salle says:

            Hey that’s my rant! I have to agree. Our society has some serious problems and probably could benefit from counseling… if there were such a thing for an entire population of a nation like ours.

          • avatar Elk275 says:


            If the country needs a rest why do you come out here. This is my home, where I was born, where I work and where I live.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Elk –

            We were all born here.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:


      I think this picture reinforces your point. Not meant as a bit of animosity toward the young girl, but if she can do this at age 9, there is no sport because the “competitive” edge is so stacked in one direction.

  92. avatar Elk275 says:

    Here is an interesting article in the NYTs about a new wildlife collar. If it works the way they want it on wildlife then it could work on humans. Scary thought.

  93. avatar Wolfy says:

    Elk, millions of people all over the world already have “smart collars”. They’re called I-Phones, Blackberries, ect. And the Dept. of Homeland Insecurity is keeping tabs on us through these devices. Although, unlike wildlife, we willingly give up our rights to privacy. Won’t be long before they tell us what we can and cannot say on blogs like this. Probably right before China starts building bases on US soil. No, I’m not joking.

  94. avatar Elk275 says:

    Wolfy, thanks for the heads up. I have my mind set on a new iphone in Oct or Nov when the new ones are release. It is something to think about.

  95. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Rehberg, Tester clash over who’s telling the truth on solving wolf issue

  96. avatar WM says:

    Two Mt. Rainier NP volunteers log 12,000. One gets bluff charged by black bear. Wow!


August 2011


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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