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November 27, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Are You Ready to Hunt Western Wolves?

From an Associated Press story in the Idaho State Journal:

[A] proposed [wolf] management plan, issued Monday by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, . . . recommends using a regulated seasonal hunt as the tool of choice for managing, and in some cases, thinning the number of wolves roaming the state. . . .

It also recommends suspending all wolf hunting activity when there are 20 or fewer breeding pairs left in the state.

''We're focusing on managing conflicts with this plan,'' [IDFG large carnivore coordinator Steve] Nadeau said. ''And clearly, that means population reductions in some areas. Other areas, we'll be looking to stabilize.''

Check out the full story and tell us your reaction.

Comments

WA Mtnhunter

Tommy

I humbly apologize for any unkind words. I intended them in jest only. I too choose not to shoot bears, cougars, wolves, etc. out of cruelty or fear. I just have strong experience based opinions and get a little irritated at times by those spouting off a load of horse manure on these blogs. And if someone takes offense to that, oh well.

Mr. Mallery

For your information, I go to wolf country often. I am not afraid of wolves since they are a low threat to most humans. More people are killed by aggressive city dogs every year than wolves have injured in a century (according to the blog experts).

People with uninformed opinions spewing so-called facts are much more dangerous.

I draw your attention to the situation in Washington State where the uninformed, liberal city dwellers in Western Washington banned hound hunting and baiting state-wide for bears and cougars by voter initiative. This initiative did not pass in any of the rural counties where most hunting takes place. Now, the cougar population is a problem in many suburban areas, in addition to rural and forest areas. The bunny huggers are bitching because the cougars are eating their poodles and kitty's and terrorizing the occasional hiker.

Ranchers have it tough enough without having to deal with an increased predator base. Apparently you have a negative bias toward western ranchers, judging from your comments throughout the blog.

You may feel free to insults behind the keyboard, but I'll bet you aren't quite that way in person.

Matt Mallery

WA Mtnhunter,

I return insults, but I don't initiate them in person or via keyboard.

Ranchers my have it tough, but ranchers have made it tough on a lot of living things. The prarie dog, the wolf, the jaguar, the grizzly, the cougar, the coyote, and the bison have all felt and continue to feel the wraith of ranchers. The land does not belong only to ranchers. They graze their cattle and make a profit on land that I partially own. I would like to see wildlife and a real ecosystem on that land. I have a say in what happens to that land. I have grown up in an America has a decimated wilderness when compared to what it once was and I feel robbed. Future generations will hold all of us accountable for our actions today. Not only should we preserve what is left, we should restore what has been lost. I do not see the land as a big ranch or game farm. I see it as a wild place and a living ecosystem, and future generations are entitled to the same. It is my duty to leave it in better shape than I found it. I wish our parents and grandparents had felt the same way.

Tommy

WA,

All good bro!

Matt

I cant believe all the people out there that honestly seem to believe that the reintroduction of the wolf is a threat to deer and elk population sustainability. Rumor has it that wolves where here for thousands of years and didn't kill off the deer and elk then so i have a hard time believing that a few hundred of them are decimating the population.. Now i enjoy hunting/fishing as much as the next guy :)but Nature is about balance.. The truth is that we "humans" have destroyed that balance which is why we have to "manage" animal populations. The sad fact a lot of people have a hard time facing is that a healthy naturally balanced system with a reasonable number of apex predators offers less "excess" animals that can be safely taken without endangering the populations... You can't have it both ways either you support conservation of our natural resources or you don't... You can't choose to only protect certain species and let others die our just because they make you work a little harder to fill your tag.. if you don't like the challenge and are just in it for the meat got to the store and buy a steak or if you just enjoy the kill move to Texas and shoot some ranched deer...

Hunting for me is about enjoying the outdoors sometimes I Fill my tag sometimes I don't but I always enjoy myself just watching the game even if it frustrates the Heck out of me when I can't get a shot is reward enough..

Quite hating the wolves and face the facts.. They where here first. We killed them off.. thats our bad.. and as i recall humans have done a lot more damage to our game animals then wolves ever have... I wish I could hunt a Merriams elk but alas we wiped them out...

scott

You betcha. The bottom line is the wolf is NOT a good neighbor.

Matt,

While I would absolutely love to restore the land to what it once was....Goodness!

But really; do you think that is even relevant? Or possible? The idea is grand, fabulous, and even heroic.

But - it isn't viable. Unless we pass legislation that stops the breeding of humans. Hmmmm. Really though - our population grows, the animals food and cover abates. And all the while, the earth stays the same, or seems to shrink with our growth.

I too have struggled with this my friend. But the animals will lose out. It sucks! But the shameful, unfortunate, unspoken truth is that if we humans are alive a few hundred years from now, and we haven't already rendered the planet devoid of all animals or unable to sustain any life besides our own, at some point, there will be no more room, or ground for us that love wildlife to stand on in a debate to save anything.

Look at the african elephant and the rhino. It pains me to see those long-lived thoughtful, parenting creatures to be killed that way - for ivory! Damn Chinese. But the other side is you have to look closely. The humans have no jobs, hope or food. They seem to be just trying to make some sort of a living, while the rich, alot of chinese these days I hear, get what they want. Hmmmm. Sounds familiar. The poor being used to benefit the wealthy - and all the rest; including wildlife pay or it.

Sad but true.

Tommy

That was me. I'm sorry Matt. It sucks, but we humans put ourselves collectively above anything that can't speak. I don't necessarily, but that can get you in a lot of trouble - in many regards.

Life can really suck can't it.

Tommy

Jut know this Matt,

You are totally correct. It is an abomination how we settled this land and raped the wildlife. It is unspeakable and should never be repeated. But it was not your doing. And had you or I been there to try to stop it - fact is - we would have laid next to a buffalo - wasted.

Tommy

The bright side is that we have a nation to mold, and that people are coming around to the understanding that we need wildlife. We need stream buffers. We need to refill drained wetlands, etc. etc. etc.

Progress is being made! While we are trying to right what we have done wrong, we learn!

Matt

Well said Scott

Then again the things in life that are really worth having/doing are often the most difficult to attain.

It might be a futile battle but that does not mean we should give up and resign our selfs to this fate. even if we are just delaying the inevitable its worth the fight so I can take my kids "none yet" or my kids kids out with a fishing pole or maybe my single shot .22 into the woods and show them that little slice of heaven I have so enjoyed and teach them about the circle of life and the joys of rabbit soup :)

Conservation and restoration go hand in hand if we don't do all we can to restore what has been lost then it makes it that much easier for the rest to slip away.

on a side note to as plus for all you coyote haters if you want less coyotes bring back the wolves and poof coyote populations will drop... :)

lol whats really funny is I hate. groups like Peta and Greenpeace and that sort of thing but something about wolves brings out my philosophical side lol.. my dogs perhaps "Samoyed-malamute mix" they look an awful lot like a all white wolves maybe they gave me a soft spot. Than again I don't predator hunt really soo... although i did have the pleasure of trying the black bear empadas "sp?" that i pulled the recipe out of my mag for :) dang good.. even with meat that had been frozen for a bit longer then i like..

Dylan

First, I want to say most everyone has valid opinions on this issue. Tommy, Matt, and Jim (sorry if I forgot anyone) are very right in the fact that wolves have and deserve their place in America's wilderness. I couldn't even begin describe how awesome it would be to see these beautiful, majestic, creatures in the wild. As I stated earlier I have yet to hear of a wolf killing a person. Someone mentioned a couple of attacks, but still no deaths. Yes, a wolf could easily kill the average person. Yes, they choose not to. Yes, more people die from lightning strikes and bumble bees than wolves. When wolves kill livestock they are only trying to fill their bellies. Their not this deviant creature on the side of the mountain planning how they could destroy ranchers lives.

With that aside I want to say I also agree with most of the others. I feel bad for the ranchers. My family are ranchers. It is a huge loss of money to lose a cow or calf. Especially since most ranchers aren't these rich, money hungry, wildlife haters. Most barely make ends meet every year. Some ranchers do have the mindset that it's better just get rid of all the predators. Most don't. They don't have time to chase coyotes, wolves, bobcats, or whatever else. If you want to talk about spoiled, wasted, land, turn and look out the window of the city you are living in. Look at your local golf course. That's as much of monoculture as you can get. If you walked for an hour on either of my families ranches I guarantee to you would see deer (whitetail and mule), cottontails, jackrabbits, coyotes, shartails, prairiedogs, antelope, raptors, ducks, songbirds, shorebirds, and the list goes on....... Many ranchers enjoy having an abudance of wildlife on their property.

I also want to say that with a little self control on the baby making end by humans, and release from that prison we call coal and oil dependance, we could sustain our wild lands for our future generations to enjoy. I don't think hope is lost yet. Good conservation is what it's all about! That means leaving the wolves alone when their at normal healthy populations and hunting them when they become too abundant. There are solutions at hand to protect both the wolf and the rancher. Let's find some common grounds.

Dave in IDAHO

I am not a wolf hater. I respect them for what they are. I also do not have a problem with coyotes, linx, bobcat, bears, fox, grasshoppers or mormon crickets. They have little or no effect on the overall population of a valuable resource - elk and deer. Yup, it all comes back to money. Money is important whether you think it should be or not. Our ancestors - early settlers, farmers, ranchers, sheep hearders, all seemed to agree on one thing - wolves are bad. They were determined to be bad for a reason. We can't go back and undo what the settlers did for their own survival, and I certainly do not blame them for doing what they had to do to survive. Of course I am not proposing that I will be hunting wolves for MY own survival, I will be hunting wolves for the health of elk and deer hunting in my state. I will not be hunting them due to fear or anger, simply that I think they no longer fit into the altered ecosystem that currently exists.

Wolves and elk/deer HAVE coexisted for thousands of years. No question there. There were probably fluctuating populations of wolves and elk/deer over time, naturally the wolves would die off when there is not so much food. The thing is, yellowstone is the only place that is close to being a "natural" environment for these animals to naturally coexist. Whether you agree or disagree, whether you want to accept it or not, all wildlife populations need to be managed. Some species need management more than others. So if that means offering doe tags to limit the whitetail population in murphreesboro, NC or wolf tags in Idaho, then so be it.

Is there another way to limit the wolf population?

Tommy

Hell Yeah Dylan,

Well said sir. Can I go to your family ranch? Just kidding. Sounds awesome though. I live in Pittsboro NC, and the landscape is also very rich. I am lucky to be living a bit of the "American Dream". I hope we, as a race, can for as long as possible.

Matt Mallery

Tommy, Dylan, and the other Matt. You guys are all making good points. Urban sprawl and human overpopulation are big issues that need to be addressed.

The overpopulation issue is a heated topic though. When I say to people on the right that it's a problem, they say that animals are not as important as people, God made the Earth for us etc. Some people have large families because of their religous beliefs.

When I tell people on the left overpopulation is an issue, they agree. Then I tell them that America's population growth would have stabilized years ago if not for all the illgal immigrants and the fact that immigrants statistically have larger families than native born Americans. All of a sudden I'm a racist.

So many on the right don't think it's an issue, and many on the left think it is but don't want to do what is necessary to stop it. And that's were we are in America. As for South America, Africa, central America, and Asia, they are breeding like crazy and their surplus humans come over here.

Dave in IDAHO

How did this discussion go from wolf management to overpopulation and imigration?

Matt Mallery

Ultimatley the two go together.

Dave in IDAHO

So do brown shoes and a brown belt. How does that fix a problem? Are you suggesting that we do nothing to limit the wolf population and open a season on humans?

Cowboy Steve

Hey Dave IN Idaho.... None of these people will understand. They have not seen the devastation the Wolfs have caused here in Idaho. It’s not in “Their back yard” as it were…. Kind of funny how Colorado and New Mexico who have huge elk herds did not have the federal government shove wolfs down their throat? They did it to Idaho because we have a small population of people and they knew we could not afford to fight out a long court battle. Re-introducing the wolfs to Idaho was a huge mistake. As the Elk and deer herds continue to crash this will become more apparent to everyone. But once again only the people who live here will be affected.

Cowboy Steve

I forgot to add that to be fair we should “Share” our over abundance of wolfs with less fortunate states back east. Central park in New York might be a good place to start…;) From what I understand, that is where the people who pushed this wolf re-introduction project live.

Dave in IDAHO

Tommy,

I would like to pose a question. Since you live in NC you must hunt whitetails, razorbacks and rattlesnakes. What if the government came to your neck of the woods and re-introduced some snow leopards or hyenas, or crocodiles to help out the species. You might say that they are not native to your area, but then neither are the canadian grey wolf native to Idaho. It wont take long for the animals to start taking deer and hogs from your favourite spot. They might even kill a few domestic hogs. The hog farmer may or may not be reimbursed for the losses. And them 1200lb hogs are not cheap. And lets also say that if the reintroduced animals kill your cat or dog, too bad for you - they are fair game. So then even the predators on the lower end of the scale start getting scarce, you have fewer and fewer sightings of whitetail or hogs, bobcats, lynx, cougars, but frequently see the predator. The government says "too bad for you". People in your area stop going out hunting because they never see any game. Hunting license fees go up, and up, and they use your fees to manage the "problem animals" (which they all have the capacity to be). You take your child - in the future of course - into the woods and you get to see this predator in it's "natural" environment. Of course it is exciting to see, its all warm and fuzzy. Such a cute predator... But where are the deer? Would you start to think maybe, just maybe it would be better to have a managed population of predators rather than an out of control population? Would you believe that the deer herds are somehow healthier? Would you still be living a slice of the "american dream"?

It was hard for me to choose a predator for this scenario without using the wolf itself because no other predator compares (maybe hyenas due to some similarities). Leopards and crocs will eat what they have, they kill one animal and burry it and eat till the animal is pretty much gone. A wolf will kill for no other reason than they can, not because they needed to eat.

It's funny how when closing time comes on the east coast all the Pro-wolf bloggers stop blogging. I am directly affected by these predators, and it pains me to think I have no support from my fellow outdoorsmen - hunters - who if they were living where I live would also be directly affected. I am not a wolf hater. I just believe there are more than enough wolves, especially in Idaho.

jim bob bigly blog

matt shut the hell up. the ranchers bought the land and they can do wat they want with it. if they kill every prairy dog and wolve for ten square mile of their property who the hack cares

William

Too bad if local game populations go down from wolves. Suck it up and become a better hunter. Hunting isn't supposed to be easy and elk and deer aren't put on this earth soley for humans to eat. I happened to have lived in an area that had wolves for many years and the whole thing is blown out of proportion. Wolves are hard on your livelihood? Tough, life isn't easy and I can think of a million things that are hard on my livelihood that I have no power to do anything about. When did people become entitled to a livelihood free of obstacles to success? I think that we as a society have become totally complacent, comfortable and afraid of change. As for the possible negative effects wolves have on the populations of animals we hunt- it's not like we're going to starve anytime soon.

Tommy

Dave in Idaho,

You make great points and obviously did not comprehend my posts.

I allowed for removal of problem animals. I allowed for full compensation for lost animals. I understand if they can't prove the loss was a wolf they don't get compensated.

Sounds like some work needs to be done in that regard.

Like if a crook comes to my house, and I can't prove it, he gets away with what ever he got.

Life sucks - things happen.

Aren't the wolves collared? They should collar all wolves that are in proximity to ranchers lands and then that could help substantiate ranchers claims. Or else the ranchers have to prove their point - they have more work to do, just like the effort it would take to identify problem animals, and take them out. Capisce.

Next - I do hunt whitetails - love it. No on the snakes or anything else besides turkey or hogs. And I don't ever see them where I hunt. I and others would probably invite some grey wolf introduction to control the feral hog problem vastly growing in the northern parts of our state.

And as far as if game sightings wereto decrease because of any introduction - I would also allow for listening to the experts, biologists and the sort on whether they needed to be thinned in that regard. I would also side with Matt Mallery in this regard as well. That would be part of "it", then wouldn't it.

jim bob bigly blog,

You are a moron.

That attitude is why animals have to be re-introduced for healthier ecosystems to flourish again.

Step away from the keyboard!
Or any other means of communication.

Dave in IDAHO

Tommy,

I don't think I misunderstood your posts to the point of missing your position on this highly complex and controversial issue.

Here is something else I learned from the Rocky Mountain Elk Federation website - there are more wolves in Idaho than there are in Montana and Wyoming combined. If I had to guess I would say Idaho is also the smallest of these three states.

Ok, so the decision to go forward with a hunt was not taken lightly by the state of idaho or the federal government. In fact the issue is not totally resolved yet. There have been ongoing public feedback/suggestion sessions, the fish and game experts have voiced their support, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) even had to approve a wolf management plan which included hunting. So as for the science behind all this - the experts, biologists and the public have been there from the beginning. This is not just a matter of a bunch of sportsmen getting together and saying "Hey bubba, I know! Why don't we try to get a wolf hunt in Idaho...?" The amount of data and the science supports the hunt or the plan would not have gotten this far.

I capisce what you are saying, It's the same rhetoric I've heard since before the wolves were introduced. I don't capisce why you are saying it.

"That would be part of "it", then wouldn't it." I don't get this at all?




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