Briefly Noted Wildlife News February 2, 2013

Ancient petroglyphs stolen from California site recovered.
Important petroglyphs that were stolen from a site in California were cut out of the rocks using power tools. They have been recovered but the thieves have not been identified.

Critics: Nevada wildlife director’s ouster could endanger effort to prevent sage grouse listing.
Reno Gazette-Journal
Those who don’t understand that habitat destruction wrought by livestock grazing is responsible for increased success of predation on sage grouse and mule deer seem to have won the day in Nevada. They don’t want to see any restrictions on grazing or other activities and would rather see NDOW engage in pointless predator killing. This move increases the likelihood that sage grouse will be listed as threatened or endangered in 2015 when a decision is made.

National Elk Refuge begins supplemental feeding.
Billings Gazette
By artificially concentrating elk and bison on the National Elk Refuge by feeding them each winter the USFWS, under pressure by hunting and livestock interests, artificially keeps the levels of brucellosis high, threatens to cause a devastating outbreak of chronic wasting disease, and perpetually reduces the habitat quality of the region.

‘Wolf’ killed found to be dog
Idaho Mountain Express
A hunter shot a “wolf” near Elk River and tagged it with a wolf tag. DNA tests showed it was a dog.

Test confirms wolf killed in Kansas last month.
Sioux City Journal
This illustrates that wolves can disperse long distances and that the idea that “Canadian” wolves are different than “native” wolves is a myth. Populations of animals have to remain separate for a long time before any significant differences become evident. Wolves in the northern Rockies intermingled for millennia with wolves in Canada. There is no difference.






  1. WM Avatar


    “National Elk Refuge begins supplemental feeding.”

    I saw nothing in the factual article that tracks your lead sentence. You just stumping today with your opinion? Isn’t the real reason for supplemenatal feeding the lack of winter range?

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      I think the real reason for winter feeding has been well explained on this site numerous times. It has to do with a desire to have abnormally high numbers of elk for hunters and to keep the elk concentrated away from the grass that ranchers want for their cattle.

      1. WM Avatar

        Isn’t most of that low land grazing land privately owned, thus denying access to otherwise near natural numbers of elk for the remainder of habitat the rest of the year? They just need more winter range. There is no “artifically high” elk herd population. It would likely be even higher, as you know, if cattle grazing were not allowed on the adjacent federal lands during the spring-early fall, I think.

        1. WM Avatar

          Yes, Ken, I recall that article when from when it posted. The point remains – it is lack of winter range. That is the case wherever supplemental winter feeding is done. It is not, as you suggest, keeping elk populations high for hunters. You are being intellectually dishonest the way you describe the phenomenon.

          1. JB Avatar

            C’mon, WM, the phenomenon is the same whether described as artificially inflated elk populations or lack of winter range. The point is, supplemental feeding is used to keep populations above what could otherwise be sustained by existing habitat (i.e., winter range). You see tomato, Ken says…

            1. WM Avatar


              Possibly we see the world thru different lenses. I do so as an elk hunter who sees the landscape as meeting its seasonal biological potential for ungulates, and believing the lower and mid-range elevations could hold more without grazing allotments on federal ands, and a wish for more winter range (which is a problem with YNP/Teton NP’s when they were created.

              Supplemental feeding is, of course, undesereable for the reasons noted. But people like to see the elk (tourism economics as well). I would like to see more winter range purchased/leased instead of fences and grazing cows. I guess more wolves could be supported that way, too. Ken misses an opportunity by crapping on elk hunters, me thinks. 🙂

              1. JB Avatar


                I wish there was more winter range as well (and I’m sure Ken agrees), but I don’t see where Ken was crapping on hunters? I suppose it would have been more accurate if Ken noted that the feedlots are maintained not just for the benefit of hunters and ranchers, but also tourists, as well.

            2. Nancy Avatar

              WM – Seriously, IT IS all about keeping elk numbers high for elk hunters. It keeps the economy going strong here where a lot out of state folks want something to hunt, not native to their area.

              1. WM Avatar


                Looking at it another way, the elk population would be higher but for lack of winter range (now privately owned), and cattle raised on federally leased lands at mid-elevatations, which could support even more elk and their predators. Which part would you suggest is really the artificial one?

              2. WM Avatar

                And, by the way, the scenario is the same in all locations where elk are artificially fed. In Eastern WA, the private land, once available to elk as winter range, has been converted to apple orchards. Now the alternatives are to let them go to the orchards, which are full of grass, and nice tender tree buds, while pissing off the fruit ranchers, OR fence them off with heavy guage mesh wire fencing and railroad tie size posts and feed them to keep them off their historic winter ranges.

              3. Elk275 Avatar


                I bet that in Jackson Hole the elk feeding grounds produce more revenue from winter tourist than from fall hunters. There is a horse drawn sleigh ride that one can take through the feeding grounds in the winter. In the fall and spring there always tourist lined up along the fence taking pictures of elk.

                What is wrong with having a extra large population of elk for hunters. Hunting is fun and recreational.


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

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Ken Cole