Here is the new (starting on Dec. 19, 2012) open comments thread on wildlife news topics that you think are interesting. You can access the previous “Interesting Wildlife News” here.

Please post your new stories and make comments about wildlife topics in the comments section below.

Near the Pitchfork Ranch. NW Wyoming on the edge of the Absaroka Mountains.

Near the Pitchfork Ranch. NW Wyoming on the edge of the Absaroka Mountains. Copyright Ralph Maughan.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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

256 Responses to Have you come across interesting wildlife news? Dec. 19, 2012 edition.

  1. Nancy says:

    “The Boys Gathering” Nice pic Ralph 🙂

  2. Elk275 says:

    Ralph, very nice picture. How does one copyright a picture?

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Elk 275,

      You write “copyright __________”. That is all it takes for basic copyright protection. You have to be able to prove, if necessary, that you created or purchased the photo.

      A more secure, time-consuming, expensive and elaborate procedure is available if you think it is necessary.

      • Elk275 says:

        Thanks, One in a Blue Moon I will take an exceptional picture.

        • WM says:


          The thing one needs to remember is that once something makes its way on to the internet, in high resolution form it is subject to hi-jacking by bad guys from around the world.

          The practical advice is, if you want to protect it don’t put it out there unless you are prepared to see your work stolen by some sleazeball in China or Eastern Europe, then sold to some third party. The proof of the risk is when your “Once in a Blue Moon” image shows up on a cheap calendar at WalMart, with the profit going to someone other than you. Practically, there is very little you can do to undo the damage even if you have those precious words “copyright by ____”, or go the trouble to file the paperwork under federal copyright laws. The legal effort involved is expensive and involves folks you can’t easily get to outside the US.

          • Ralph Maughan says:


            WM gives good advice about the Internet. You can stop some Americans and seek damages, but with shady characters and other countries, good luck protecting any copyright.

            I only had one experience. Some college professor took one of my photos of the Sawtooth Mountains on-line and put it on his page to represent his recent trip to the Sawtooths. It was on his university web page.

            He didn’t ask permission, and I emailed him and asked him to take it down. He didn’t, and he didn’t answer me. I emailed him twice more, but no response. Then I emailed the University attorney and the thief had it down at the end of the day.

  3. ZeeWolf says:

    Is this for real? How come the State of Montana allows this, it completely defies all common sense.

    • Immer Treue says:

      The operative words: “common sense.”

      • ZeeWolf says:

        What I really don’t understand is why are trappers allowed to place the public in such obvious jepordy. If the wildlife commission (or whatever is Montana’s equivalent is) can take the time to place a buffer north of YNP then why can’t they take the time to modify the trapping regulations in an area where there is heavy public use. Would it be so difficult, for example, to include groomed ski trails along with roads and hiking trails in the setback regulations?

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        The trappers were convinced to move their traps back from the trails. Nevertheless, the traps are still in the vicinity.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      The “enthusiasm” for it is concerning to me. I doubt it will wear off any time soon, it hasn’t in over 200 years. These people don’t care if other people or their pets are harmed in their war against wolves, just collateral damage I guess. I’m interested in hearing more about Kristi’s “10% of the general population lack empathy” statement. It does seem to be in short supply in our modern world, even for those who are not considered to be ill. Or maybe we just don’t have a concept of the future.

      • ZeeWolf says:

        I had an anthropology professor who said that “15% of any group are a**holes”. I’m not sure if she meant a lack of empathy but I suppose you could draw your own conclusions.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Reading some of the comments… Hand gun for home defense. I always thought a shotgun was the preferred weapon as it would be tough to miss the target and less likely to hit an innocent out side, in particular where homes are closer together.

      • JEFF E says:

        I would guess some of that would depend on the quality of training one has

        • Immer Treue says:

          Jeff E,

          I’m sure training would be important. Just reflecting on a conversation years ago with a friend who is much more gun savy than me. Had an old 9mm P-38 and he asked me why, and I replied other than historical reasons, possibly home defense, at which time he went into the shotgun soliliquay (gosh, did I spell that correctly) more likel to hit whoever might be in house, and less likely for a bullet to go flying out a window and striking someone it shouldn’t. Again, not argument, just reflection on a conversation with a friend on this very topic.

          • WM says:

            Immer the new rage is a Taurus brand hand gun product called “The Judge.” It is a large bore hand gun in 45 Long Colt that will also accept .410 gauge shot gun shell containing 5 Triple 0 buckshot in its long chamber cylinder. The operator can choose to use one or the other for the reasons you cite. Rumor has it a common load regime might be the first one or two of the chambers holding the buckshot, followed by the 45 long Colt.

            The name “The Judge” was clever marketing by this company, but lots of people don’t know some judges carry in the court room under their robe, for good reason, especially in jurisdictions where there are no metal detectors for the courthouse.

            • Elk275 says:

              The Taurus is Brazilian made and reportedly Brazilian judges carried that gun into the courtroom, hence the name the Judge.

          • JEFF E says:

            and you are probably right. there is nothing like racking a round in a shotgun in a closed environment to get someones attention, much less touching it off. but the thing with a shot gun is, what is the load? salt rock, bird shot? double 00? slugs? makes a difference.
            speaking of training, I possess a level of training administered by a govt entity. as a contrast I grew up in a neighborhood that had a number of WW2 vets. one in particular was a veteran of Merrill’s Marauders, joined from the beginning. That unit marched, on foot, nearly 800 miles, in Burma, in six months, engaged the enemy in ~29 major engagements,was in daily smaller skirmishes,and had one of the highest casualty rates in any war at any time.

            He never said much, and I was a very constant friend to his son growing up.
            I did not even realize his credentials until way later in life.
            I Would have hated to been the dumb ass that tried to break in to his house. I believe a spoon would have been sufficient for him.

            The rest of us, you don’t know until you are faced with the reality of the situation.

            • JEFF E says:

              another time I worked with an individual who had served three tours in Vietnam, his brother was a survivor of the chosin reservoir.
              Anyway he always had these gnarly, raggedy long fingernails, especially his thumbs. I asked what was with that one time and his reply was you never know what is going to be between you and death.

  4. dillet says:

    I’ve been wanting to tell this story for over 40 years. If anyone can explain it, please let me know. I’m a naturalist (have been since I took my first step reaching for a butterfly)and when this incident happened I was getting my BA in Environmental Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The campus sits on a bluff right above the beach, and at that time there were acres of grassland and coastal scrub there too.

    On a cloudy day I walked along the sandy beach near the piles of seaweed, driftwood and assorted debris that paralleled the surf (being sheltered by the offshore Channel Islands, the surf is normally barely a wave–maybe a foot or two of foam. Suddenly, from onshore below the bluff, came a large Western Gopher Snake, gliding slowly but steadily toward the water. It slid up and over the debris, and the moment a rush of seawater reached the snake, it very vigorously threw itself forward into the surf!

    I grasped the snake and carried it back a dozen feet onshore, then released it, and–it resumed its mad “dash” toward the waves. Again I tried to retrieve it from the brink of suicide, and yet again it bolted toward the water. I gave up and presume that Gopher Snake succeeded in its apparent death wish.

    Neither I nor any of my profs nor anyone I’ve related this to have ever been able to explain this incident. Any ideas out there?

    • Immer Treue says:

      Snakes are superb swimmers. You mentioned other channel islands. What goes on In a snakes head other than the trigger mechanism of food and temperature moderation? Perhaps just “commuting” to one of the mentioned channel islands.

    • Mark L says:

      Maybe salt water makes it throw up? I think I remember elephants drinking salt water somewhere to make themselves throw up. And elephants can swim for miles, just like snakes.
      Of course, you could have witnessed the conscious rafting of a new species onto an island if you’d left it alone…lots of debris, calm seas,…who knows? (just speculation here)

    • CodyCoyote says:

      I’ll never forget the day when I was about 12 years old fishing from a boat on Boysen Reservoir in central Wyoming. I hooked a pretty feisty Rainbow trout and it was leaping out of the water , putting on a good show, a fighter.

      That’s when the big ole Rattlesnake swam up and acted like it wanted that fish …kept swimming towards it , following it. The rattler was 5-6 feet long. We were a couple miles from shore on a hot summer day.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      No expert opinion, but I find that an animal knows best about where it is going and we shouldn’t interfere. Turtles always seem to be “going somewhere intently” when you try to turn them around from what we presume is harm’s way. We don’t know that is wasn’t “commuting” as someone mentioned. Snakes are another poor “shoot on sight” kind of creature who have an undeserved reputation based on superstition and religion. Doesn’t anybody question anything? Never have been afraid of them (I do respect them and give them their distance) and they are quite beautiful.

      • Mark L says:

        (snakes) Yep, I agree. See my lisinopril comment in the Montana wolf thread…they keep some of us alive through their venom.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Many years ago, returning from a trip to the Tetons, I camped somewhere in Nebraska. Went for a morning run, and caught an immature bull snake. As I was holding it and observing, and old geezer came by and said kill it. Asked him why, to which he replied,”it’s the devil.”. In the middle of farm land. Enough said.

        • jon says:

          immer, I am deeply troubled at the way some rural residents treat wildlife. It seems as if their first reaction when they see a wild animal is to kill it.

      • dillet says:

        Ida–It wasn’t so much that I was “trying to save it’s life” as trying to find out whether it actually knew what it was doing, or if it was just coincidence. It clearly was deliberate in its actions, and I saw it later being tossed about by the waves.

        Mark, there already is a unique gopher snake subspecies on one of the islands, but left there by anciently rising sea levels. What amazed me was this one’s fixed determination to leave its natural habitat up on the bluffs and throw itself into the sea. Also I wanted to triple-check that it really was a gopher snake and not a sea snake.

        • Mark L says:

          So my next odd question would be do the unique subspecies of gopher snakes on the island ever go into salt water also? Anyway, good way to ditch parasites I guess. Unfortunately the snake can’t teach the trick to its young, so its secret dies with it I guess.

    • Louise Kane says:
      Pacific Gopher snake excellent swimmer
      is this was you saw

      • Immer Treue says:

        Snakes are cool. They’re one of the critters I really miss in the north. Some garter snakes, and these little worm like snakes. Nothing like the diversity of snakes as observed when I spent some time in Southern Illinois.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      For all you snake fans, here’s one. At one time I never realized New England had our own rattlesnake, so I was thrilled! I am bothered by the fact this snake is very endangered, but at least has protection now. Probably began to be persecuted from the times of European settlement, like the wolves. I have never seen one and I hope I do one day. I love its Latin name, Crotalus horridus! I don’t mind spiders either.

  5. timz says:

    Idaho Attracts more nuts.

    “The project could be built in Montana, Wyoming or several other Idaho counties”

    This says alot about these 3 states and what it’s saying is not anything they should be proud of.

  6. aves says:

    There are currently an estimated 800 black-footed ferrets in the wild at 19 release sites. Captive breeding facilities have had excellent production of ferrets for release and advances in vaccinations continue to be made. But the primary limiting factor for this critically endangered species is available habitat. There needs to be more release sites and the best prospects are private land. The USFWS has announced plans to expand the Safe Harbor program to bring in more private landowners to the recovery program.

    Under the Safe Harbor Program private landowners would allow ferrets to be released on their property and keep them there for up to 50 years. In exchange the USFWS promises not to impose further ESA restrictions on the property. The good part is it will lead to more ferrets in more places. The downside is after the agreement expires the landowner can, but hopefully won’t, choose not to re-new and can request all ferrets be removed from the property.

    • CodyCoyote says:

      All those BF Ferrets are descended from a colony on the Pitchfork Ranch west of Meeteetse Wyoming. They had been doing fine till all the biologists from competing state and federal agencies descended on them, and a turf war broke out. Wyoming Game and Fish won the cage fight to do a recover and restore captive breeding program , but almost killed them off in the process. All present day ferrets are descended from a single adult male and four juvenile females, all probably closely related.

      I can never get an answer when I ask a basic question : It’s been 32 years since the BF Ferrets were ” discovered” on the Pitchfork in a viable wild prairie dog town that still exists and is largely left alone . Why has not the Pitchfork been considered for resettlement by ferrets?

      • TC says:

        Cody – you keep citing these facts, but they do not jibe with the written or oral histories of the recovery program. Namely – they were not “doing fine” (the Meeteetse population experienced a precipitous crash in 1985, presumably due to plague outbreaks in the prairie dog colonies and presumably worsened by confirmed canine distemper virus activity, just prior to the decision to capture the first and second significant cohorts, followed by the capture of the last male in 1987); the founding population is confusing as hell without having access to the stud book, but per various publications often is cited as up to 4 males and approximately 6 or 7 females out of the 17 live BFF at Sybille in 1987-1988 and a couple of founders never captured, but that sired founders/critical F1 – all with cute names like Dean, Willa, Emma, Jenny, Mom, Rocky, Cody (yes), 653-54, 640-41; and finally, WGFD was granted significant oversight by USFWS (they had no power to grab – we did have an ESA way back when, but they were adamant in requesting involvement), and USFWS was about as involved in the entire early process as they could be, including in all planning, implementation, and process meetings and in on the ground efforts at Sybille and elsewhere. As you know, today, USFWS runs the recovery show as they have for quite a few years now. As to the Pitchfork restoration question – you could get an answer if you called the relevant non-game biologist at WGFD – try Martin Grenier. Or call the Pitchfork and ask if they even want BFF back?

        • CodyCoyote says:

          TC—I was the last person to see a Blackfooted ferret in the wild in 1981. In fact, I took the first federal biologist up to the Pitchfork colony when he drove in from Colorado in the middle of the night.

          Evidence suggests that colony was long established.

          Do you know the source of the canine distemper that went thru the colony ? I can’t speak to the sylvatic plague but there are some biologists who owned dogs who evade the question about the distemper part of it.

          Read Tim Clark’s excellent book on this particular escapade in species recovery, ” Averting Extinction ” from the Yale Press ( out of print, but try Abe Books. The ISBN is 0-300-06847-6). Tim , now Susan , Clark had it absolutely right from the beginning. He being a private biologist researcher for Biota at the time based in Jackson Hole spent hours in my trailer at the front gate of the Pitchfork that first autumn where I ran the ranch’s hunting program , before he got run off by the agencies. It was about all they could agree on…that some private sector academic should not have anything to say about how to handle ” our” public ferret foofawraw. Prior to the discovery of the Pitchfork ferrets, Tim Clark was the strongest advocate and doing the ongoing research , pretty much alone in the bureaucratic and real wilderness. When Tim left, the agencies imemdiately went at each other’s throats. All we could do was sit back and watch the BS fly and the bluster.

          Wyo G&F was unqualified to mount a recovery program ; had no facility for it; and no money . The guy running it was a alcoholic. It all became a textbook case in how NOT to run a specie recovery and especially a captive breeding program.

          And yes there was exactly ONE surviving virile adult male , named Scarface , who was bred to four surviving juvenile females at Sybille. The other male wasn’t getting the job done if I recall …don’t pin me on that. But all that happened 4-6 years AFTER the ferrets were discovered and imploded upon .

          I refuse to talk to Wyo G&F about ferrets or any other mammalian species. Their biology street cred is no good these days, with me anyway.

          The Pitchfork back then wanted ferrets brought back to them when the time was right. Can’t speak for the new owners. The old owners were a family , the eldest of which was my biological half-sister. I spent 12 years there every autumn. But that , too, is ancient history. As far as I am concerned having been an observor on the front lines in the field, the Blackfooted ferret fiasco has a big dark cloud over it that has only begun to dissipate. Time heals all wounds, but does not cure Stupid.

          • Elk275 says:

            Interesting TC. Very interesting, Thank you

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            Cody Coyote,

            I saw your comment 2 days afterwards. Thanks for the story.

            I used to have an acquaintance in the area who showed me the countryside including the Pitchfork. Wonderful wildlife!!

    • ZeeWolf says:

      I wish the article had a bit more information but am heartened that the conversation is at least taking place.

      Personally, I would like to have more areas that are free of hunting so that the wildlife can “go about their business” without lethal interference. That being said, I continually hear about so-called buffer zones around YNP. I recently brought up the idea of expanding the park and was subsequently told that the idea had already been discussed on this board and wasn’t feasible anyhow (my paraphrasing).

      Does anyone else have an opinion about this or reopen the discussion?

  7. Salle says:

    Someone posted about Lake Como earlier but being it’s such a popular place:

    Wolf traps placed near Lake Como ski trails

    And just in case, I guess…

    Ask Zimo: Dog owners need to know how to release traps

    • Mark L says:

      Neat stuff JEFF E,
      you can actually see the people standing around the campsite at around 9000 feet (I guess)
      Pretty telling that it’s crowded even at this remote stop…everybody just HAS to do it, even if it trashes the place.

  8. Salle says:

    Run-of-river hydro project threatens grizzly population: B.C. ministry biologist

    Provincial biologist warns designated conservation areas related to other species also at risk

    • ZeeWolf says:

      This seems like a good common sense resolution to the issue. I have to say I am surprised by the quick action on this and flexibility shown by the government agencies involved.

  9. Salle says:


    B.C. introduces $250,000 fine for releasing Asia’s destructive ‘Frankenfish’

  10. Ralph Maughan says:

    I want to wish everyone a fine New Year today on the winter solstice.

    Since it is the shortest day of the year, I’m taking off now for a few hours outside in the sunlight that remains.

    • Salle says:

      Indeed, Ralph!

      ..and to everyone,

      Have a good first day of the Fifth World! I’m about to go out and do the same.

      And ditto to what Louise said.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Same to you Ralph, with many thanks.
      And congratulations to all for having “survived” yesterday!

  11. Louise Kane says:

    The same to you Ralph and thank you for such an excellent place to learn, share and sometimes get your ass kicked.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Very true – thanks very much Ralph. I love the soltices to celebrate the change of seasons. 🙂

  12. Ida Lupine says:

    My goodness, what a beautiful animal.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      The critically endangered snowmobile?

      “Snowmobiling has lost thousands of acres where we have historically ridden, so every acre is important,” said Sandra Mitchell, Boise-based public lands director for ISSA. “They’re all important, and they provide opportunities for recreation that further the quality of life and economic prosperity of rural Idaho.”

    • Ida Lupine says:

      The critically endangered snowmobile?

      “Snowmobiling has lost thousands of acres where we have historically ridden, so every acre is important,” said Sandra Mitchell, Boise-based public lands director for ISSA. “They’re all important, and they provide opportunities for recreation that further the quality of life and economic prosperity of rural Idaho.”

      • ZeeWolf says:

        Just how historical can an industry or use be that has only 40 or 50 years behind it?

        • Ralph Maughan says:


          Well about 25 years ago, I begin to hear off-road vehicle users maybe 25 years old begin to speak of their historic rights to certain trails or areas.

    • WM says:

      Let’s take some excess wolves where they are not wanted so much and put them in feral hog country. Short term everybody wins, especially if US wolves have a stronger affinity for feral hogs than deer. Nobody or nothing else seems able to make a dent in the feral hog population, and some farmers might even be a little happier. Time for a “non-essential experimental wolf population” in Texas?

      • JEFF E says:

        feral pigs are one of the most dangerous on the horizon wildlife events that are about to/have happen(d)within the lower 48. they eat every thing(including you if given the chance) breed like rabbits and can survive/thrive in any climate. even Idaho recently made steps to declare feral pigs a pest that can be killed anywhere/anytime.

        God forbid the states consider a “natural”solution.

        (for the record I understand that a feral pig and a boar are not the same thing, just in case one of our resident sycophants wants to go off on a fantasy tangent)

      • Mark L says:

        This has been mentioned in some circles concerning red wolves already (I don’t know of any studies of red wolf vs.feral pigs though).

      • mikepost says:

        WM, any thoughts about feral horse country???

        • WM says:


          How to fix feral horse country? Now there is a problem begging for a solution – political and technical.

          Personally, I would like to see a couple processing facilities in Indian Country, near where the problem areas are (capital investment and jobs). Cultivation of a market for horse meat – human and pet food (utilization of the resource). A decision, supported by the federal government, states and affected tribes, whether to manage the range on which they feed, either for wildlife, horses or other livestock, with range management practices that improve the condition of the land.

          Now, how to make that happen? Wolves, I think are not part of the management scenario for feral horses, unless someone has more knowledge about how they would affect horse population dynamics, to reduce their numbers.

  13. Louise Kane says:

    Thank God some good Christmas news – hunt closed for Wisconsin wolves. My Christmas wish is that the hunts will shut down next year and we will be looking at national protection, at least in the works

    • ma'iingan says:

      Louise –

      I understand you oppose trapping, however without the efficiency of trappers the wolf hunt would have continued well into breeding season, which actually might have had some impact on pack stability.

  14. Louise Kane says:

    Quick interview with Rolf Peterson – Scientist finally saying a hunting season is not needed not falling into a lockstep with industry and throwing the wolves…under the bus. Hunting does not appear to be reducing any wolf hating sentiments, its brutal, ignoring of the sociality of wolves and far too aggressive and out of step with management for other species.

    • WM says:


      I think you inaccurately summarize the video of Dr. Peterson and his take on the developing situation in MI. He, very much like Dr. Mech, is very matter of fact about wolves on the landscape, and, in fact, specifically comments on the fact that if a bunch of wolves are killed their reproductive rate will increase assuming available food. Come on.

      • Immer Treue says:


        Rolf Peterson is a bit more restrained than Mech, in particular to a wolf season in MI. They’re exists a recent interview with Peterson in regard to a wolf season in MI where he does not support the general killing of wolves throughout wolf territory by hunters and trappers. Don’t know if I can find said interview, but I’ll try.

      • Immer Treue says:


        Here is entire article and Peterson portion.

        How Wolves Would Respond
        What researchers do know is that wolves will respond to any decrease in their numbers.

        Wildlife biologist Rolf Peterson has studied wolf behavior on Isle Royale for more than 40 years. He says a public hunt could split the animals into smaller packs and actually increase reproduction.

        “It’s sort of if you kill one wolf, two come to the funeral,” Peterson says. “I mean that’s just a common sense way of expressing the ability of wolves to respond to any sort of increase in mortality.”

        Peterson says a hunt designed to reduce conflicts with humans could work, depending on what wolves were killed and how many. But he thinks it would have to be in a very small area.

        And Peterson points out that over the last decade trained professionals have shown that they can move in quickly to get rid of problem animals. “Wolf hunting by the public is not about solving problems. It’s about people’s desire to kill wolves for whatever reason that might be,” he says.

        • Louise Kane says:

          I saw this the other day Immer thanks for posting.

        • WM says:

          Thank for the other source for Peterson, Immer.

          Interesting dilemma – wolves are apparently on the increase in MI, to the point DRN wants to control their numbers, including acknowledging they are a “game animal” under state law. Hunt them, and a noted local scientist says they will respond by increased reproduction. This would of course negate the reason they were hunted in the first place, EXCEPT to the extent they are a game animal their numbers will bounce back showing they truly are a renewable resource.

          Looks like an experiment in the works. Will the Rolf Peterson hypothesis also carry over to the NRM?

          Of course, at some point, killing off a certain percentage of the current population will result in a whole bunch fewer, and for how long, and with what change [increase] in the number of “problem wolves” that will be destroyed as a fix?

          If MI wants fewer than they have now, what is a practical solution, especially if the tribes don’t want to play?

          • Mark L says:

            What percentage of wolf inhabited area do the MI tribes own? Though they may not play, the wolves on tribal land would not ‘welcome’ other wolves so should actually provide an interesting control for some people’s population/interaction theories.

            • WM says:


              I probably should have researched a bit more before making that comment. It appears based on a quick search, the MI Upper Peninsula has very little reservation land over which they can assert unilateral control. I don’t know what kind of off-reservation rights individual tribes might have to affect MI state management of the resource base (some wanting more wolves for religious/cultural reasons). They, of course, have the ability to go to federal court to clarify those rights if the state of MI goes ahead with a harvest, even after consulting with the tribes, which it appears they are obligated to do. Without more, Native American influence on the matter in the Upper Peninsula is more political flash for a “human interest” aspect for the news soundbite than it may be substantive.

              • WM says:

                Mark L.,

                Continuing…..And, compared to the tribal interests, including reservation lands, etc., MI does not come close to the level of influence tribes would purport to exert over the MN wolf population. Recall there, a few tribes even offered areas of “sanctuary” for wolves (reservation land is still only a small percentage of habitat). Query, whether this would be very effective given what has been playing out on a much larger landscape with harvest of the Yellowstone NP based wolves that sometimes venture outside their “federal sanctuary.” It’s mostly a political statement from the tribes, and that is a slant the press likes, even if it does not mount to much in the end (like they ever comment on that aspect).

          • Immer Treue says:


            Perhaps prevent further expansion, except where wolves “might” be desirable. Surgical removal by experts. Hunting to remove entire packs, that perhaps the “experts” can’t get. Allow dynamic equilibrium to develop where population will ebb and flow on its own. Bottom
            Line, where they aren’t causing trouble, leave them alone. I have trouble believing advocacy groups will allow wolves to be looked upon as a renewable resource.

            As before, some interesting data will begin to become available.

      • Mareks Vilkins says:

        if there’s no safety issue at stake then it’s unnecessary violence against animals and for some people (maybe even for majority in MI) that’s not acceptable. no wonder Louise is not happy

    • JB says:


      I’m baffled by your comments suggesting scientists have been “in lockstep with industry” and “throwing wolves under the bus”. There is a clear difference between scientific questions, which seek to answer “what is” questions, and normative questions of public policy, which attempt to answer “what should be”. Scientists have been called to answer the “what is” questions, and there is a fair degree of variability in how they reply (for a good example, see the debate about how much human harvest wolves can withstand).

      So while scientists can answer such questions as “how much harvest can wolf populations sustain”, they are in no better position to decide normative questions (e.g., should we hunt wolves) than anyone else. Many (most?) consider it inappropriate to even weigh in on these debates.

      • josh says:

        JB its called emotion, it clouds judgement etc. They look upon wolves as their own children or friends, give them names and assign human feelings to them! Only one solution makes em happy! Never kill a wolf !

        • Louise Kane says:

          josh give it a break
          one can have emotion and be passionate and still be using facts, logic and science to back up an argument. Talk about nonsense and emotion…..please quote one instance on this site when anyone has said wolves were their children or friends.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          We do not. On the other hand, those who don’t want them assign all kinds of irrational, untrue qualties as well – as if they were humanity’s mortal enemy – responsible for destroying the elk herds, kidnapping babies out of their cribs, robbing graves, talking to them while they are trapped, ruining hunting, haaaaaaaa! There are extremes on both sides. Although you don’t seem like one of these from the way you describe your hunting trips, Josh. 🙂

      • Louise Kane says:

        JB lets be honest here when we speak about how science, funding, objectives and studies interface and that some scientists do publicize thier opinions even advocate based on their subjective findings/data/research. We have on this site had the discussion in the past so I’m somewhat reluctant to get back into an acrimonious debate, and I’m not suggesting that I fear that with you, which I don’t. I’m equally clearly as baffled that you would state the following ” they (scientists) are in no better position to decide normative questions (e.g., should we hunt wolves) than anyone else. Many (most?) consider it inappropriate to even weigh in on these debates.” when Dr Mech has so heavily influenced wolf policy even going so far as to describe the best methods for hunting wolves.

        “Within a few years after seasons are established, probably few people will have the motivation to trap, hunt, or snare many wolves, although many hunters may persist enough to each take a few.” D Mech

        and more, “I am concerned with the survival of wolves as a species, and that means I can’t be concerned about saving every individual wolf. If we put wolves on a pedestal above all other species that we hunt, people will take the law into their hands, and before long we’ll be right back to the time when, for most folks, the only good wolf was a dead wolf. Sooner or later we’re going to have to have a hunt.” Mech also

        JB you tell me don’t these statements fall into that category of a “normative” question that most scientists would consider inappropriate to weigh in on? and why not?

        • Louise Kane says:

          arggg objective findings not subjective! sorry

          • Louise Kane says:

            The suggestion all along has been that wolves need to be hunted to prevent humans from wanting to kill them illegally and that hatred of them will be dissipated by hunts. This has not proven to be true historically nor is it proving to be true now. Those kinds of statements have hurt wolves, in my opinion and seem shocking to me given the amount of time Dr. Mech has spent studying the animals. Its not just Mech either…..
            If you know that wolves have been persecuted relentlessly why go out of your way to provide an expert opinion about the need for a hunt? some like Haber worked tirelessly to illustrate that their sociality needed to be considered in any management plan, which is more relevant from a scientist then providing justification for a hunt based on a theory with no substance to back it up. Just saying….

      • Louise Kane says:

        and JB I should have said some scientists – and thats the frustrating part because these scientists provide such clear compelling statements that wolves need to be hunted, can withstand rigorous hunts and where does that data come from. If you now of a controlled study that examines/ determines the effect of human hunting on wolves in the western and midwestern states that also considers their prehunting population numbers, I’d be interested in seeing it? Furthermore is there a controlled study now to determine the impact of hunting a previously unmolested population?

        • Mareks Vilkins says:

          in Latvia wolves are very intensively hunted (after 9 months hunting season with 200 harvest bag there are left 200-300 wolves) and it have resulted in a situation where 70% adult females have litters + and it also have led to wolf-dog hybridization

          Bucking the Trend in Wolf-Dog Hybridization: First Evidence from Europe of Hybridization between Female Dogs and Male Wolves

  15. WM says:

    Not wildlife news but tangentially related. Here is an interview with Wayne LaPierre of the NRA and NBC’s David Gregory. Rather lengthy, and a bit testy on both sides. Watch him dance. And, while I am not an NRA supporter for many reasons, the current media spin, and liberal posturing for a fix does not really address the problem either. It is going to really be a difficult solution, without gutting the second amendment. One aspect that became clear toward the end of the interview – the feds don’t enforce the gun laws they already have, and the Feinstein/Schumer assualt weapon bill from 1994 didn’t do squat.

    • Nancy says:

      I thought it was a very good interview WM.
      Especially liked Charles Schumer’s comment (afterwards) comparing mass shootings & guns to lung cancer deaths & cigarettes.

    • Louise Kane says:

      WM…its probably a good time to revisit this amendment and the gross expansion of gun use/abuse in the US. I’d bet a million dollars that the founders never envisioned the endless expansion of the “right to bear arms” that is now defended under the second amendment. I think people need to think about the context in which the protections in this provision were considered. to prevent a foreign militia from bullying a newly forming nation …I wonder if they imagined a nation being bullied by NRA money. The NRA effectively works to prevent any rational restraint in the acquisition and use of assault weapons, silencers or other weapons being irrationally used against citizens or wildlife. I wonder if our founders might have imagined a nation of gun toting bullies, gangs, mentally ill or criminal who can readily buy and use firearms, guns or assault weapons. Its no wonder we bear the distinction of having one of the highest murder rates of any nation on earth. The constitution is a wonderful document but even its sacred tenants are stretched by special interest money and decisions like Citizens United.

      • Savebears says:


        You should read the documents that pertain to the 2nd, before making such broad statements.

        Namely the Militia act, which although not enforced these days, it is still a law on the books that goes hand in hand with the 2nd amendment.

        As far as abuses, it is a two way street, both sides of any argument have hired guns to maintain and push their position.

        • Savebears says:


          One of the main reasons for the 2nd, was not for the foreign invaders it was actually placed so the people could protect themselves from their own government if needed. The framers of the Bill of rights had seen many abuses of people perpetuated by the government they lived under and wanted to make sure if it happened here, we would be able to stop it.

          • Savebears says:

            That was suppose to be, “not for the foreign invaders as much as it was for protection from our own government”

          • WM says:


            I do not disagree with what you have said. Never really had the interest in researching it because it has always, in the minds of most US citizens, been assumed we have a government benevolent and responsive to its democratically elected legislative and executive branches.

            However, I suspect interpretations of the 2nd will get a full airing if there is major gun legislation on the horizon.

            The interesting thing about citizens protecting/defending themselves against their own government in this age of ever increasing technology, is that the means of citizen defense must mirror that of the military forces of the government. Maybe easier to do during a time of muskets and cannons, than what our military uses today, and our civilian population does not. It would be an understatement to say it is a huge gap. And, if we look around at all the third world countries whose citizens have tried to take on their often unjust governments, we can see just how difficult that is – even when our government or US technology is involved in arming those insurrectionists. And, what a scary world it would be with rocket launchers, tanks and the occasional drone/figher aircraft in somebody’s garage, in an effort to seek parity.

            • Nancy says:

              “The interesting thing about citizens protecting/defending themselves against their own government in this age of ever increasing technology, is that the means of citizen defense must mirror that of the military forces of the government”

              Thanks WM. Trying to put similar thoughts together before hitting the “post comment” button.

              A good read regarding our species (and our history) regarding our need for power over all things:

              Lords Of The Bow, Conn Iggulden

            • Savebears says:


              Part of my educational experience in the Academy was totally devoted to constitutional study and the meaning behind the Bill of Rights, of course being in the Military we studied the 2nd extensively.

              Even though you disagree with me, which is fine, I do have a pretty good working knowledge of both the Constitution as well as the Militia act.

              I am with you, we will have a full debate about the 2nd over the next few weeks, and much of it may actually, again end up in the US Supreme Court, in fact, I think some of it will be fast tracked to the high court in light of what has happened.

              • Savebears says:

                Opps, I read it as disagree, sorry, but the rest of my message still pertains.

              • WM says:


                Yes, I think we agree. My father, who I have mentioned before, here, retired a field grade Army officer.

                He very much believed in the draft, as he thought that was the best way for the conscience of the country to be reflected in the military. Any thoughts on what the “long gray line” believes in respect to a citizen army?

              • Savebears says:


                I really believe in civilian army, I think where we fall down on the job is the training aspect. I have no problem with that long grey line and I have no problem with a draft.

                I honestly believe if every able bodied person in the US had to serve, we would have much less of this stuff happening and we would have a much more respectful population.

              • Savebears says:


                To add, I believe that all US citizens should do at least 18 months of some type of government service once they are out of high school, if they don’t complete high school, then they should be compelled to at least get their GED.

                I also believe that undocumented aliens should have a path to legally living here, and it should include military service or government service. I would prefer them to come into this country legally, but the ones that are here should have a way to make up for their illegal entry into this country.

              • WM says:


                I think you and are in synch for most of this sub-thread.

                I found an interesting short article which recalls an incident at the War College (which I presume you attended as a senior leader). The article is short, and if read with the proper state of mind, maybe even humorous, though the underlying message is not. If you have time, read and maybe comment- the concept is group think?


              • WM says:

                Sorry, just click on the Download it Now box.

    • jon says:

      There were too many loopholes in the Feinstein bill from 1994. I liked the interview. I think David Gregory did a fantastic job calling Wayne Lapierre out.

  16. Louise Kane says:

    The loss of this lawsuit – is a true travesty
    the defendents the usual list of suspects fighting to preserve trapping when New Mexican wolves have been killed and injured. Some 50 something of these animals in the wild. This is truly shameful

    • Savebears says:

      Glad to hear that finally went through, it was much needed and will keep any development at a minimum.

    • WM says:

      Yeah, and it will be a great place for, “wildlife watchers, hunters and fishers alike.” Even more important to see who is on the board of one of the NGO or owner groups responsible, its advisors and ex-officio members. Frankly I don’t see a so-called, new age “conservation group” member among them.

      What has Sierra Club, Defenders, NRDC and the like done to help this one along? Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the jab.

      • Louise Kane says:

        maybe too busy trying to prevent drilling in the arctic wildlife national refuge, reckless offshore drilling, fracking, stopping the trapping of wolverines, keeping bad legislation like the sportsman heritage act from passing, preventing the northwest wolves from being de listed or fighting the forest service to prevent livestock grazing in new mexican wolf recovery areas…endless battles

        • WM says:


          “too busy…” Yes,all good causes the “conservation groups” pursue, but it does not explain the condescention toward those who actually are preserving habitat through innovative conservation easements, ponying up funds and working with private businesses that also make a very big and measureable difference. So the hunters and fishers do the work and everyone benefits.

          That is the stuff that some of you folks in the East take for granted, at the same time you slap around hunters, and Wildlife Commission types. It really gets old, sometimes, Louise.

  17. RobertR says:

    That is amazing because I just watched a show on how Environmental groups want hunters and fishermen limited on public lands.
    I just wish some did not have such tunnel vision and would read the history of who helped start wilderness and wildlife preserves.

    • Louise Kane says:

      Its not tunnel vision to want some areas that animals can live free from human hunting.

      • Rancher Bob says:

        You already have some areas, what you now want is all the rest. Be truthful. There are many private lands around that don’t allow hunting you just don’t count them or know of them.

      • Elk275 says:

        It is called National Parks, plus Montana has the Sun River Game Range in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. There are numberous ranches that do not permit any type hunting, Bob said it first.

        • Louise Kane says:

          hunting is permitted in some national parks and if the sportsman heritage act is passed that may change for others. I’d like to see the percentage of hunting areas to areas where hunting is not allowed.

          • Savebears says:


            How many times do we have to go over the Multiple use concept that is used in America, the hunters have as much right to use those lands as the non-hunter does, and we have millions of acres that are off limits to hunting, between private lands, state park lands and national parks, I would have to say things are pretty even.

          • Elk275 says:

            Hunting is permitted in Grand Teton National Park for elk which was part of the bill creating Grand Tetion National Park. If you do not like elk hunting in Grand Teton National Park get congress to prohibit it.

            Louise you talk about the large wildernesses in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Are you capable of exploring those wildernesses and observing wildlife or is it just a pipe dream something that feels good in your mind but something you will never visit.

            The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; it should never be drilled. But do you have the ability to charter a plane into the refuge dropping you off on a river bed. You and your party hiking for 10 days then returning to landing site and the return trip to Fairbanks. I doubt it, I have been there and done it along with 5 or 6 other similar trips.

            Lovers of wild places need all the support from users and non users to kept them wild.

            • Louise Kane says:

              Elk,I’ve spent a good portion of my life being dropped into some crazy places via small planes, helicopters, boats and ships for fun and work. You’d be surprised, people from the East Coast travel, hike, climb, and do the same kinds of activities that westerners do. This East Coast lady however does not go to places to kill but to observe and photograph or produce for other photographers.

  18. WM says:

    Looks like the good ID Senator Crap..o has been celebrating with a little too much Holiday cheer in DC.

    • JEFF E says:

      if I was a betting man I would bet that driving intoxicated is a common lifestyle dynamic for Crapo.

      The “only” thing he is sorry about is getting caught and only then because it puts the golden trough at risk.
      But what the hay, even then he gets a lifetime pension, one each from the house and senate,(did he not also serve at the state level? so there are those needed benefits) plus 100% paid for medical care for him and his family at any facility in the United States, (and probably the world).

      so a rhetorical question?
      how much does any one think that these Slobs really care about doing the country’s business?

  19. Louise Kane says:

    musical and photographic tribute to wolf 06
    seems unbearably sad to think of these wolves killed to become a rug or stuff wolf or some such creepy trophy.

  20. Immer Treue says:

    A rather long article from the Economist

    Sort of a Cliffs Notes version with a few interesting tidbits, such as the English who settled here had no experience with wolves in the “old country” as with most Europeans who came here.

    For those who infrequently peruse this site, a good read on the wolf story.

    • Nancy says:

      A very good read Immer, thanks for posting it.

      So much of the debate surrounding wolves out here in the west (and even in the northeast & southern states) always seem to center around livestock raisers and their continued lack of ability to protect their “product” before shipping them off to market.

      • Savebears says:


        When it is realized, that is the way it works right now, we will all be better off, this is an entrenched society, it is going to take a few changes in the generations before we are going to see much movement on these issues.

        Change is always good, but quite often, those changes come with much pain.

  21. Ida Lupine says:

    A question for you birdwatchers out there –

    I’m putting away my stone birdbath for the winter, and wanted to use something temporary until next year. Is an aluminum or a metal pan toxic to birds, and can they injest aluminum from water? Thx!

  22. Savebears says:


    Pick up a plastic one, that is far better than the various metal ones, I don’t know for sure, but there are some metal ones out there that are clear coated and when the clear coat starts to flake off, then it can cause problems for the birds.

  23. CodyCoyote says:

    The official Wyo G&F Box Score on the ongoing Wolf Hunt has not been updated for three days , since December 21. It shows Wyoming is at exactly 75 percent of its 52 Wolf quota in the so-called Trophy Zone, having recorded 39 kills so far, with 13 left to go. 20 more wolves been freelanced as varmints elsewhere in the state in the No Limit predator zone. Five of the 12 trophy hunt areas are 2 or more wolves away from their quota.

    Hard to see these numbers changing much before year’s end ,since most other big game hunting seasons are mostly closed now. I wonder what ” adjustments” Wyoming will make to this first year hunt, in the immediate future ( extended season? ) or for next year’s campaign.

  24. JB says:

    Just wanted to take a pause from the thoughtful (and sometimes maddening) debate and say “merry Christmas and happy holidays” to one and all! I’m glad to know there are so many people out there with whom I share a passion for wildlife. I hope that’s one point on which we all can agree!

  25. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all,and to all a good night.

  26. Nancy says:

    Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Morning!

    The usual white Christmas here!

  27. Immer Treue says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone. Enjoy those with whom you share this day.

  28. Ida Lupine says:

    Merry Christmas to all as well! Woke up to a litte frosting on the trees this morning.

    Enjoy the day!

    JB, that’s something we all can agree on, we share a passion for wildlife and the natural world.

  29. Louise Kane says:

    To echo the sentiments of others, Merry Christmas, to all of us with a love of, passion for and appreciation for wildlife and the natural world.

  30. Harley says:

    Merry Christmas to all here!

  31. Leslie says:

    Crapo publicly said he abstains from alcohol!

  32. jon says:

    This is why I support a ban on trapping. Wolf traps in Montana are catching coyotes, bobcats, and cougars. You should make a new post with this article Ralph/Ken.

    • Elk275 says:

      Coyotes, foxes and bobcats are in season and all trappers should have a mountian lion license, also.

  33. Ida Lupine says:

    This is what I don’t like about trapping. It is too indiscriminate. And it is too self-policing. It isn’t that kind of world anymore.

    Pauley said that is to be expected. Really?

    The animals are required to be released. Really.

    The mountain lion was captured in a wolf trap with wolf urine used as attractant.

    “I have no idea why a mountain would go into a wolf urine scent,” Royce said. “This is all brand new to us. We are sure to learn some things.”

    I love it when humans get a good lesson in how much we don’t know, and that not everything is predictable.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      ^^But then again, that isn’t really true is it? All animals ‘check out each other’s calling cards’ and territorial markings, don’t they? 😉

    • jon says:

      “It is too indiscriminate.”

      This is why a lot of people are against trapping. How is a trap going to tell the difference between one animal and another?

    • Ralph Maughan says:


      I put up the story, but I think it is too early to generalize. However, after 5 times as many wolves have been trapped, if the number cougar, etc. remain this high a percentage, it will be considered to have been a poor or a bad season by a lot of people.

      • jon says:

        Ralph, as you know, nobody knows how many bobcats and cougars have been trapped in traps meant for wolves. Not everything is reported in the news unfortunately. The article did say that cougars in Idaho were caught in traps mean for wolves. This is the first time I am hearing about this. Who knows how many non-target animals end up in traps meant for wolves.

  34. CodyCoyote says:

    An interesting essay from Down Under by noted ecologist Tim Flannery.

    His latest Quarterly Essay makes the case that national Parks and wildlife preserves are not enough to assure biodiversity. As much as a third of small mammal species have been lost in Kakadu NP, the crown jewel of Australian National Parks, with population counts overall down by 75 percent. The collapse of the ecosystem seems to be driven by a corresponding increase in wildfires. The southern hemisphere has much hotter summers than the northern…the ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit is such that 7 percent more sunlight occurs in the southern summer than the northern. We northerners have a corresponding 7 percent bonus during our winter…Earth is closest to the Sun on January 4 each year, so we have warmer winters and cooler summers based on solar radiation. Australia and the rest of the southern world being the other way around and much more ocean to act as a heat engine have much more extreme climate fluctuations.

    13,000 years from now that will be reversed. Australia can’t wait that long, unfortunately

    • Louise Kane says:

      Does anyone know the toll on wildlife that the raging fires took this summer in the west, and the loss of productive habitat?
      Thanks for another good post Cody

    • Leslie says:

      Cody, this was an interesting read. Australia has no native large predators that can eat some of these problems up. Also, interestingly enough, aborigines having been there for over 50,000 years and using fire, the theory is that the plant material adapted to fire because of man, rather than by natural causes. With these two unusual elements on a gigantic island, I think their problems may not be solvable.

      Interestingly, one person in the article is quoted as asking for connective corridors–something necessary in our continent for biodiversity. But it was noted in the article that it would just make things worse, as it would allow movement of these introduced species.

  35. CodyCoyote says:

    A fascinating summary of a long E-pub story by Amanda Martinez at The Atlantic. A history of the removal of invasive species on small islands, told in a narrative way. “The Battle at the End of Eden ” ( The full article can be downloaded)

    The American West has become host to innumerable invasive species in the last 200 years, whether intentionally man caused or as a secondary result. And I don’t mean just Old World livestock when i say that…

  36. Louise Kane says:

    This was posted on WCCL today – a disgusting array of death wishes for Journey the wolf that has traveled so far….some of you wonder why people are anti hunting. I know its not all hunters, but for God’s sake. Why do some have to be so outright cruel so dismally inhumane. I wonder how long this wolf will live in Idaho? The bastards, rotten sobs. Really we need federal protection for wolves, from these kind of anti wildlife losers.

    “Below some quotes from Idaho hunters and trappers (and one Oregonian) after reading the ODFW update on OR16. Being interested in the welfare of Oregon wolves (I’m sentimental), I wish the ODFW would sometimes err on the side of discretion and refrain from advertising the presence of Oregon wolves that make such a mistake as to cross into a state virulently hostile to their kind. It would do no harm to refrain from highlighting a creature who will then be especially targeted by killers. Wally
    Idaho wolf hunters are gunning for OR Wolf16… This post comes from posts by others on Wolf Hunting , Trapping and Snaring on FB.
    Larry Olberding Jr.
    Great news for Idaho hunters and trappers, Fold him up!

    “On December 19th the yearling wolf OR16, which had recently dispersed from the Walla Walla pack, crossed the Snake River into Idaho. The 85 pound male was captured north of Elgin, Oregon on November 1 and was fitted with a GPS collar which allowed managers to quickly determine that the young wolf was part of the Walla Walla pack in northern Umatilla County. Dispersal of young wolves away from their natal pack into new areas is a normal part of wolf ecology and this is the second radio-collared wolf to disperse from Oregon into Idaho.” (ODFW)
    Like · · about an hour ago
    Wolf Hunting, Trapping and Snaring Too bad it didn’t get shot. So much for the whole family thing the wolf humpers claim.
    about an hour ago · Like
    Larry Olberding Jr. Hopefully he will stay in Idaho long enough to get angel wings. With that black hide he will make a great rug.
    about an hour ago · Like
    Bill Kelly If us pushing that wolf back over to be shot in idaho works.. we willc ontinue to push many more back for the shooters. hell we will even pay for the ammo. ha ha ha ha.”

  37. Salle says:

    Update: After an rough start during fire season the bobcat kitten, “Chips”, is getting big, is beautiful, healed from her burns & eye infection and getting training to go back out in the wild… They say she’s “too nice”.

    Volunteers toughen up bobcat kitten who’s too nice

  38. SEAK Mossback says:

    An article with historical (back to Murie and before) discussion of the status of wolves, wolf research, prey and policy in Denali National Park relative to the recent low population count and unusual decrease over the summer. Much broader in context than other recent articles:

  39. CodyCoyote says:

    Warmer climate affecting western trout streams, says ” retrospective study “.
    Jackson Hole news & Guide article from December 24 ( apologies if it was already noted here ) .

  40. Savebears says:

    Say it isn’t so, and animal activist group..

    Just goes to show, there is no side that is 100% clean.

    • Rancher Bob says:

      Just goes to show how far groups will go to further their cause. Money and egos.

    • WM says:

      SB, The NY Times story is not quite complete:

      ++This settlement applies only to the ASPCA. Feld Entertainment’s legal proceedings, including its claims for litigation abuse and racketeering, will continue against the remaining defendants, Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved. ++

      The sad part is, whatever is paid to Barnum/Feld from these organizations means the donors whose money was intended to actually protect animals does not go to that purpose, because of the civil settlement. Donors ought to be holding leadership of these groups’ feet to the fire, for their bad judgement. Maybe there will even be some sanctions against their lawyers if they knowingly participated in perpetuating what appears to be sham litigation, if Barnum/Feld wins, or the remaining Defendants settle out. Possibly some lawyer disciplinary action, if it was bad enough.

      The really sad thing is that, if there was any abuse of elephants by Barnum, et al., it gets swept aside, by the deplorable behavior and litigation tactics of the animal rights group.

      HSUS, right in the middle of this crap, once again.

      • Louise Kane says:

        WM the link you sent is written by the Feld team, it looks a little more complicated then what the Circus is claiming, that the defendants went after them as they don’t like seeing animals in a circus. The write up claims that the animals were not injured but the dismissal and settlement is focused on standing and the credibility of a witness who was then determined not to have standing. I don’t know who, under an animal cruelty statute, would have standing etc…. I’d like to see the other side’s write up. Its interesting to me that no defendant (attorney) was fined or sanctioned for a frivilous claim under state or federal law. That would give a better idea as to the merits of the case.

      • Louise Kane says:

        Here is a quote from another article

        “The ASPCA confirmed the settlement, saying in a statement that “the organization does not admit to any liability or wrongdoing.” The court never ruled on the merits of the elephant abuse allegations, it said.
        “After more than a decade of litigating with Feld Entertainment, the ASPCA concluded that it is in the best interests of the organization to resolve this expensive, protracted litigation,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres in the statement.”

        as stated the initial complaint of the abuse has not even been addressed due to the standing issue….I’m sure Feld has looked to a number of diversionary tactics to avoid that question. Now lets see how many elephants in the wild do the things they do in a circus, stand on their feet, jump, are prodded with sticks that give electric jolts etc… cruelty there.

  41. Elk275 says:

    There is a very interesting article in the 12/29/2012 Wall Street Journal, weekend addition front page, about Japan, wolves, over abundant deer, deer damage to agricultural crops and the lack of hunters and little demand for venison in Japan. There is talk of reintroduction of Tibetan wolves in Japan. I do not know how to get a Wall Street Journal link, surely someone must know.

    • Ralph Maughan says:


      I can imagine a lot of Americans would like to send them resources to buy arms. It would probably make them feel good to see elephant poachers shot.

  42. CodyCoyote says:

    A bit of a political exposé article over at ProPublica… their documentation seems to indicate that Dark Money from liberal Democrat activists disguised as a Super-PAC called ” Montana Hunters and Anglers” was able to tilt the reelection of Senator Jon Tester. They diverted enough Republican votes over to the libertarian candidate to cause Republican challenger Denny Rehberg to lose by a slim margin. Tester won , but at 48.7 percent of the votes cast did not recieve a plurality. Rehberg trailed Tester by 4 percent. Libertarian Dan Cox recieved 6.5 percent of the votes cast.

    I was skeptical of that claim when some regular Wildlife news readers posted it in November, but the ProPublica investigations seems to bear it out. Unknown organizers of the Democratic persuasion but disguised as Libertarians using their anonymous dark money funding were able to skew the vote count enough to thwart the GOP dark money effort. Surprisingly , nearly $ 100 in political advertising was spent in Montana for every vote cast in that state. The Dark Money outspent the traceable funding by 3 to 1 in dollars.

    The utter irony of all this is Montana had some of the nation’s strongest campaign finance laws going into this election cycle, but the Supreme Court threw them out and thus opened the door there for unlimited campaign spending. That door swings both ways. The Dems saw an opening and took it. Message being , be careful what you ask for.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Ha. I can’t stand either side.

    • Louise Kane says:

      Cody thanks for this article. That Citizen’s United decision has done such damage. I’d love to see caps (realistic) caps for spending for reelection for presidential campaigns and for congressional campaigns. The amount of money spent is obscene. I wonder if the amount each side could spend was capped how the candiates would use their time and money. Maybe they would have to actually outline their platforms instead of doing so much negative campaigning and lies. Once the money was spent you’d be done. It would force them all to think in advance about to ensure their constituents were hearing the issues, maybe truth would become more important then lies. It would also be nice to see news stations prevented from airing commercials so the news was not so heavily corrupted and influenced.

  43. Mareks Vilkins says:

    it’s a wonderful blind spot for so called ‘rational NRM hunters’ who are proud to say that they are informed about everything relevant concerning wolves & their ‘rational management’

    well, it’s just happens that International Wolf Center’s Chair Cornelia Hutt and Dr. James Halfpenny is so enthusiastic about lessons to be learned from a book written by an American author how Romania’s mountain people co-exist with wolves – but all in vain because even ‘enlightened NRM hunters’ are deaf and dumb about alternatives to current wolf management plans

  44. Salle says:

    Happy New Year to everyone…

    This has been one of the worst years I’ve seen in the last decade, I hope ~ with what hope there is left in me ~ that the next year will be a much better one for everyone!


  45. Robert R says:

    This rather fitting being some state there is more money spent wildlife watching. I find it hard to believe when there is some sort of hunting at least seven months out of the year and year around fishing.

  46. Ralph Maughan says:

    Robert Ray,

    I have read the actual survey.

    I’m going to be doing a story on this survey because it has a lot of details that your average journalist might overlook or not understand such as the data for hunting and fishing is a lot more reliable than for “wildlife watching” because the latter is hard to define and all three overlap.

    Another bit of data that doesn’t not bode well for the future is that all three hunting, fishing, and watching, are the pursuit of “classic” White Americans, who are becoming a minority.

    • Mareks Vilkins says:

      solution – hunters must be declared as an Endangered Species under federal protection / finance

      but, seriously – in NRM are predominantly whites & eco-tourists make up only a portion of total number of whites

      • Savebears says:


        We are not an endangered species, in my state as well as many other states, we have a state constitutional right to hunt and fish.

        In the SE many hunters are actually Afro American. I know you have an opinion on our country, but don’t seem to have a real understanding of our country.

        • Mareks Vilkins says:

          it was a joke, dear Savebears! (tongue-in-cheek or whatever)
          and I do remember your comments about ‘our rights’ etc.

          what concerns ‘our country’ &’understanding’:

          about the USA foreign politics & mass media I’ve read such American authors as Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, William Blum, Gabriel Kolko, George McT. Kahin, Nick Turse etc.

          on economics & finance – Dean Baker, Robert Pollin, Yves Smith, Robin Hahnel etc.

          and I seriously doubt that you have more insight about USA gov’t than they

          on Montana specifically I intend to consult K. Ross Toole’s “Montana: An Uncommon Land” & “Twentieth-century Montana: A State of Extremes”

          • Savebears says:

            You might doubt Mereks, but as Military officer that spent a great amount of time in Washington DC as well as was stationed at the Pentagon, I have a pretty good insight into Washington Politics and then as an employee with the state game agency, I learned quite a bit about wildlife politics..

            I received my Military training at West Point and I graduated with a Masters Degree from a well respected Western College. I have worked with Bison groups, as well as elk studies, bison studies, interaction with specific species.

            I have stood my ground for what I believe in and paid the price for my stance on issues.

            After many days in court, I have finally started to receive some of my military benefits and lost any benefits I earned working for the state.

            So with the same amount of time you have posted here, you do not know me.

            • Mareks Vilkins says:


              don’t take what I post here personally (I don’t doubt your integrity or decency) but:

              1)you are an old-timer and

              2)I have to care about wolves in Latvia who are under far more extreme hunting pressure than NRM wolves and

              3) 60-years old Soviet hunters are parroting USA wolf-hater baloney

              4) you are not questioning 10 breeding pairs threshold (which is cited by Soviet hunters in Latvia to justify wolf hunting policy when 200-300 wolves are left after 200 harvest bag)

              • Savebears says:


                Where did you come up with the idea I don’t question the 10/100 threshold? I have never stated I didn’t question that.

                As far as Latvia,

                I have no idea of the situation in that country and really don’t care to, I live in the NRM and work on the issues here, I will never travel to Latvia, I don’t even follow the wildlife issues in that part of the world.

                But don’t assume I have not questioned the state plans, If I didn’t question them I would be getting ready to retire from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, as it stands, I work as an independent now.

            • Mareks Vilkins says:


              you are saying it every day to Louise, Jon etc. that they really need to relax because wolves will get Endangered Species status only when NRM states’ wolf populations will get under 10 breeding pairs (because it was the deal sealed in middle 90-ties when wolves were re-introduced)

              but it is not going to happen – and then you quickly start to lecture how they all the time want some more concessions! what a childish hypocrites are they!! really, grow up, folks!:(

              • Savebears says:


                I didn’t set the threshold, the government did, I didn’t say I agree with it, but that is the line in the sand. Just because we want something does not mean we are going to get it.

                With the state of reintroduction right now, that is what it is going to have to be, before there is even a consideration of relisting.

                I am sorry, I don’t believe you are understanding what I am saying.

                As I continue to say, just because I mention it, or discuss it does not mean I support it. It is very easy to discuss a subject without being in support of it.

                Now personally, I don’t believe wolves need to be relisted, and at this point, if they were it would be an abuse of our endangered species law.

            • Mareks Vilkins says:


              I feel pretty sure about what is your position but I support what Bradley Bergstrom et al. say in “The Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Is Not Yet Recovered”

              • Savebears says:


                That is a tough one, less than 100 miles north of my home in Canada, there is many wolves and that is the NRM region as well, I guess it all depends on your perspective as well as understanding of our region.

                Have you ever visited this area?

              • Mark L says:

                So, one could safely assume that 10 breeding pairs would not be sufficient to handle the impact of a disease that was moderate, not to mention severe? (am I right here?) Also, the NRM is a region….10 breeding pairs in a country like Latvia…who knows? See Norway in a decade?

              • Savebears says:


                I really don’t consider the diseases to be moderate, let alone severe We don’t know one way or another actually how many wolves there really are, I suspect more than is being counted, as with all species.

            • Mareks Vilkins says:


              yes, I know that Rockies extend into Canada as well and that Canada is steaming with wolves

              but BB is not talking about Canada or migrating wolves from that area

              I’m a student for dime’s sake – I can’t travel to NRM just to have a couple of beers with some rational hunters!

              though I hope next fall will see Romania’s wolves, lynxes and bears 🙂

              • Savebears says:


                I was just wondering..

                Good luck on your studies youngster!


              • Louise Kane says:

                Mareks you’ve got a pretty damn good take on the US state and federal wolf policy, and the BS that is bandied about to defend keeping wolf populations at such absurdly low populations. While your English may not be perfect you understand the hypocrisy and lunacy of using terms like rational, robust, responsible stewardship, recovery etc in regards to wolf management by the states….I find it criminal that our states set the bar so low and now other wolf haters across the world use this as a baseline to defend their terrible policies. and I think its wonderful that you care about wolves worldwide as well as in the Baltics.

              • Savebears says:


                Why am I not surprised!


              • Louise Kane says:

                SB i could say something else but instead I say happy new year!

              • Savebears says:

                I am sure you could Louise.

                Happy New Year, may next year be more productive.

          • Elk275 says:

            ++on Montana specifically I intend to consult K. Ross Toole’s “Montana: An Uncommon Land” & “Twentieth-century Montana: A State of Extremes”++

            Very good reads, I have both books and refer to them several times a year. K. Ross Toole’s class was best class I took at the University. I was in my local bank today talking with the president of the bank and we talked about K Ross’s class and how we use what we learn from him in today’s environment.

            • Mareks Vilkins says:

              have you also read Richard Manning’s “Last Stand” – how two out-of-state logging companies had clear-cut a swath the size of Delaware through the forests of the Northern Rockies?

              I’m interested in that topic because I’m studying Forestry

          • Savebears says:

            Well Mereks,

            That is a step in the right direction, that is a good book to read.

          • Louise Kane says:

            Mareks don’t feel slighted you’ve read more on American politics and wildlife then most Americans ever will. This is a sad but true statement. The comedian late night show host Jay Leno (and others ) used to go out in the streets and ask random people questions like who fought in the US civil war ( I remember that one because i could not believe the answer) or what century was the American Revolution in, or who is speaker of the house, or even who is the president? Very tellingly most of the responders could not answer simple questions about our history. Most people are too busy watching shows about bitchy housewives or runway models they have no understanding about domestic or global policies or governments and the issues they/we are dealing with. I think many Americans are some of the most misinformed people I have met in the world. Then again we have some of the brightest.

            • Savebears says:


              It is unfortunate, you don’t need to be smart to be an American, you don’t have to pass a test if you were born here.

  47. Savebears says:


    My comments are not showing up, did I get put back in the moderation page again?

  48. Nancy says:

    All creatures great and small…. and one very little one’s contribution to mankind.

    A Space Odyssey:

    Happy New Year everyone 🙂

  49. Mark L says:

    I’ll agree somwhat. I currently live in the SE and have Afro American….um, ‘black’….friends that hunt. Overwhelmingly they are a different kind of hunter than most yuppie gun enthusiasts who also happen to hunt. They rarely travel far to hunt, are normally ex (or current) military and have a different hunting ethic (which is good). Few poach unless they are desperate as it is mostly subsistence hunting, and not a costume party.
    I think I’ve said before on here that a lot of the wildlife issues mentioned on here are completely foreign to most non-white (or native) hunters. When the other ethnic groups start to see the politics of wildlife, things will get very interesting….

  50. Immer Treue says:

    Agree with Salle about this past year, in a number of different ways. Please, 2013, how about a turn around?

    Happy New Tear to all!

  51. IDhiker says:

    I see that Jeff Hagener has been appointed to head Montana FWP by Governor-Elect Bullock. I really can’t remember too much about his performance when he was director before, but certainly his successor was a disaster!

    Perhaps some of you with longer memories than I, or personal experience with FWP, like Savebears, can enlighten me as to why or why not you think Hagener is a good choice to be the director.

    • Savebears says:


      Jeff, is actually a pretty good guy, he will weigh both sides of the issue before really stepping in, he is very strong willed and works to push through what he believes is right.

      Right now, he is stepping into a bee hive, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of being in charge.

      • IDhiker says:

        Thanks for the information.

      • Louise Kane says:

        So what is your take Savebears how do you think wolves will fare? better or worse…

        • Savebears says:


          I think they will actually fare just fine, time will tell, as I said, I will be interested how he handles being in charge. Montana, Idaho and Wyoming is a bee’s hive right now and being blasted by both sides of this issue. Ultimately it is going to be up to the states and I think we will see a transition in the future that will create and equilibrium.

          The biggest problem is, people need to give it time to get everything worked out, what happened yesterday, is not always what is going to happen tomorrow, I don’t see wolves going back on the list anytime soon, and I don’t expect things the agencies do, always be right.

          As I said, it is going to take generations to get through this, just as it did in the early 1900’s concerning other species.

          • Nancy says:

            “The biggest problem is, people need to give it time to get everything worked out, what happened yesterday, is not always what is going to happen tomorrow, I don’t see wolves going back on the list anytime soon, and I don’t expect things the agencies do, always be right”

            SB – we humans always seem to have the “time” even when it comes to the wanton destruction (#3 in Websters) of our own species.

            I’m hoping the situation starts turning around soon in future generations with regard to all species 🙂

            • Savebears says:

              Nancy, we all do, but we as a species have shown, we learn very slowly. Often times what we learn is to late, but despite our mistakes, the next generation always learns from those who go before us.

  52. Immer Treue says:

    MN only 22 wolves away from quota of 400 with the month of January to go.

    • Louise Kane says:

      You can kill wolves really quickly when they aren’t used to human betrayal.

    • Mark L says:

      after 400, what happens if traps are still left out?

      • Immer Treue says:


        Trappers and hunters are supposed to monitor web site or call to keep up on tally. The Northeast zone had +1 and + 2 over quota for the two seasons.

        Traps meant for wolves, by law, should be pulled when quota is met in the NW zone, as NE and North Central zones are already closed.

        • Louise Kane says:

          Immer do you know if they are not pulled if the trapper is fined, and if you come across one can you remove it?

          • Immer Treue says:


            Traps are supposed to have metal ID tag. If tag not present, who’s to say what happens to trap? If tag is present, spring trap and report to DNR.

            But, as traps will be under snow/concealed, spotting them would be tough at best. Tampering with “legal” traps is punishable by law. Got enough problems right now, don’t need to add to the heap.

            • Louise Kane says:

              Thanks Immer, my question was is it legal to remove them after the last hunting date? if there are no tags on them they would not be legal thus removing them would not be tampering with legal property, anyhow you answered my question thank you

  53. Louise Kane says:

    FYI a comment by Ken Fischman to Bozeman Chronicle ……

    Comment To the Bozeman Chronicle from NIWA Vice Chair Ken Fischman Ph.D. December 11, 2012
    Your article, “Montana Shuts Down Wolf Hunt Near Yellowstone” (12/10/12), contains two misleading statements, which we often hear from anti wolf advocates.

    The first is that wolves are “often blamed for livestock attacks.” Official statistics from the US department of Agriculture and the US Fish and Wildlife show that wolves are responsible for less than 1 % of livestock depredations. Coyotes account for 60% and even dogs kill four times as much livestock.

    The second inaccuracy is that wolves are responsible for “driving down elk numbers in some areas.” Statistics from Montana State Wildlife and Parks show that the number of wolves in different areas do not account for the yearly ups and downs of elk, and that the Montana elk population has consistently increased in the years since wolves were reintroduced and is now at an all time high.

    In repeating these falsehoods, the Chronicle is guilty of a false equivalence, between official, responsible sources and the lunatic fringe. It is not good reporting to repeat statements that a little research would have shown your reporter to be untrue. You should do a better job.

    I am glad to hear that the area immediately north of Yellowstone has now been closed to further hunting and trapping for this year. The closing should be made permanent. The killing in that area of at least 12 wolves from Yellowstone packs has damaged longstanding and painstaking research by scientists, as well as a multibillion-dollar tourist business. It has also besmirched the good name of a beautiful state.

    But, worse than this, sources have reported that eight of the twelve wolves killed were wearing radio collars. Because only 17% of Yellowstone wolves bear these collars, one would have expected about three of the twelve wolves to be collared. The statistical chances of eight being collared are improbable if not impossible.

    The most likely explanation for this discrepancy is that collared wolves are being deliberately targeted and that the means for this is that the killers are homing in on their radio frequencies. I understand that doing so is against Montana law. It is also of note that these killings all took place on the northern, Montana area, bordering Yellowstone. Why are the authorities not investigating this likely crime?

    Ken Fischman, Ph.D.

    • Rancher Bob says:

      Appears Ken is not above repeating false hoods. He should do a better job himself.

  54. Savebears says:

    well I hope everybody has a successful and happy new years, be careful, be safe and we will all get back at each other next year.

  55. Leslie says:

    Ralph is quoted on this fine editorial re: the RMEF having lost its way


December 2012


‎"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