« Wisconsin Wild Turkeys Go Postal | Main | Remembering Charlton Heston »

April 09, 2008

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Field Notes at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes.

Discussion Topic: Wind Cave National Park Shoots Down Elk Hunt

From the Casper Star-Tribune:

Wind Cave National Park has decided not to allow hunting inside its boundaries as a way to control its elk herd.



The park also considered reintroducing sterilized wolves to manage the herd, but dismissed the plan because federal and state wildlife agencies would not support it, said Tom Farrell, a spokesman for the park.

 . . .

Hunting is not consistent with the park's regulations and policies, Farrell said.

"

Our preferred alternative is hazing the animals outside the park and then raising the fence and installing one-way gates so the animals will be outside the park," he said.

 . . .

"[The Game, Fish and Parks department] would then increase the number of [hunting] tags outside the park, so we could use hunting to control the number of animals that use the park in the winter," he said.

What do you think of the decision?

Comments

Larry

What a crock!

Mike Diehl

It is time that someone made hunting consistent with US National Parks regulations and policies.

I'm in school right now

Every time I turn around, there is some other kind of ridiculous crap goin on. One-way fences?!? Ever heard of the term free-roaming animals??

Nate

NLkg

Wow. All i can say is this is amazing. I totally agree with Mike Diehl.

Let me put the choices there for the F&W agency:
1) Allow hunting inside the park.
Outcomes: 1. The Fish and Wildlife (F&W) MAKES revenue, and doesn't have to do too much for it. 2. The herd is managed. 3. It gives people a good opportunity to enjoy THEIR resources and be outdoors.

Or 2) Don't allow hunting and put in wolves and "one way" fences.
Outcomes: 1. The F&W LOSES revenue, AND wastes a lot of time. 2. The herd MAY or MAY NOT be succesfully managed, because the chances of that crazy plan working are pretty slim. 3. People will not use the national park as much. 4. They will have to displace wolves and change the natural balance of the park's ecosystem.

I don't know about you, or even the F&W, but it seems pretty clear that choice one is the choice that, on a very basic level, JUST MAKES SENSE.

But like i said, i dunno about the F&W...

Neilo

I like No 2 in the second group of choices, NLkg! HOw true how true.

John R

Sounds like " We're the government, we're here to help!"
I have to agree with Mike Diehl also.

Matt Mallery

Why not allow hunting and put wolves in as well. Wolves should be restored to National Parks. The gate idea is stupid. I don't see why the state and federal agencies are against the wolf re-introduction. And the wolves should not be sterile either.

Tom

hey Matt, what are you smoking? you want wolves re-introduced to the national parks? i'm sure the folks in the Smoky Mountains or Yosemite would be thrilled. how about Hot Springs Arkansas, or the Tall Grass National Park in Kansas, or Theodore Roosevelt Park in ND. let's be sure to put some in Olympic National Park in Washington and.Crater Lake of Oregon. Ask the states of WY, MT and ID about how well the re-introduced wolves are working out. the northern Yellowstone elk herd was reduced from 19,000 to 10,000 in ten years after the wolves were brought in. the 35 wolves released a dozen years ago in Yellowstone now equals more than 2000 wolves in the states of WY, MT, and ID. ever hear of the law of unintended consequences?

Bubba

I'm a lot like everybody else, every time you think you've heard it all, they come up with something else inane!
Is hunting the "ultimate" answer? I don't know. I am not a wildlife biologist and I am not familiar with the Wind Cave Nat'l Park situation, but, (there's that but[butt!?] again) the hunting aspect makes alot more sense! Sterilized wolves?! C'mon!
One way gates?! C'mon!
Let's look at it in this direction.
Wolves and gates? May work, who knows! But how long?
Hunting? Almost immediate results that can be stopped and started at will! AND generates income!

Bubba

Jason

I agree with the parks they should spend millions of tax payers dollars on a fence to keep said taxpayers from using "public" land.

More proof that the system works.

Their plan to buy wolfs and pay for them to be surgically altered all at tax payer expense to once again keep taxpayers from using their land, while also putting a dangerous predator into the parks was another great idea.

Ultimately this problem will be solved by surrounding the park with a moat and filling it with sharks. I just wish they would have said so in the first place.

Jason

I almost forgot the elk will be shot from space with lazers. After they receive couseling. (How does being shot from space with a lazer make you feel Mr. Elk.)

ethan

Hey Tom, thanks for berating Matt Mallery for me. I've done enough of that in one of the previous discussions about wolves in Wyoming. A word of warning though: he doesn't understand simple logic and reasoning; rather, he is ruled by his emotions and wants "wolves' rights" protected in the US Constitution, and to take precedence over those of Humanity.

And Jason, thanks for the comic relief on the subject. I needed that. A moat with sharks! Lazers from space after counseling! ROFL!

And yeah, NLkg and Bubba, you guys hit the nail on the head.

Matt Mallery

Ethan,

You berated me? I refuted everything you said with scientific fact and when you could not counter, you just quit.

Tom,

Why yes, all those parks do sound like good wolf re-introduction locations. Elk and wolves survived together for thousands of years and will continue to do so wit proper managment.

Jason,

Dangerous predator? To who? Not a single documented case of a human killed by wolves so far.

Matt Mallery

One more thing.Notice in the article it said one possible plan was to haze the elk into leaving the park,then the game department could issue more tags and increase the elk hunting opportunites. But who is against that plan? Our old friends the ranchers. You guys can rant and rave about "liberal treehuggers" ruining your hunting all you want. But once again, the ranchers have their way. Of course, the developers, miners, and loggers get their way too. And the republicans sell off your public lands. But keep the blinders on and pretend the liberal treehuggers are the reason you had a bad hunting season this year.

ethan

Matt Mallery, you have lost touch with reality, which is why I quit arguing with you. You can't argue rationally, and you refuse to place the interests of Mankind over those of mere wolves.

Another thing: you said grizzlies are not restored, and I argued that they were. My grounds for doing so are that they are as restored as they possibly can be. As has been already argued concerning bison, the landscape has simply been changed in too much of their original habitat for them to be able to occupy the whole of it ever again. So we have all the grizzlies and bison that the habitat can support well. I would call that a full recovery, and not push to have these species live in places that are no longer suitable for their habitation.
That goes for wolves too, in all of the National Parks, particularly those in the more southerly reaches of their former ranges. It is not simply a question of properly managing the several major and high-profile/impact species. The real question is whether these chunks of habitat are extensive or contiguous enough to be considered truly good habitat. In the majority of cases, no the National Parks cannot truly be considered good, self-sustainable habitat for wolves. So you are wrong in saying that they should be brought into ALL the National Parks within their historic ranges.

You say ranchers are against the plan to haze elk out of the parks so they can be hunted outside of them. Yes, most ranchers would be, and for good reason. You don't seem to understand that cattle can carry diseases that can devastate elk herds, and that elk can carry diseases that can devastate cattle herds. Both, or even either of these effects would be terrible. On the one hand, elk would suffer tremendously, and thus all the species that depend on, or are affected directly by them. On the other hand, the beef industry would suffer a terrible blow, which would, because all areas of the market are interconnected at some level, likely have a negative effect on other areas of the greater economy: butchers, meat-packers and transporters and retail stores just to name a few. The only ones who would profit from it would be those with connections to the foreign beef market, which so many people are ranting about because it is "job outsourcing" and it creates more unemployment in the US. Now we wouldn't want that would we?

Also, it is not right or correct to put loggers, or even miners, in the same group as developers. Loggers have not gotten their way since the early part of the 1900s. Besides, what loggers do effectively replaces a natural event in the cycle of ecological development and change: naturally-occurring wildfires. Wildfires clear older, less productive sections of habitat, and promote new, fresh growth and regeneration. Some species even require fire to complete their reproductive cycles. Logging serves the same functions, so how could it be bad, especially since the Reprod laws were passed in the late-middle part of the 1900's? Miners only affect small amounts of ecological habitat, unless we're talking about open-pit mines, of which there are less than 85 or 90 in the entire world. Developers however, I will concede, do not help the environment any.

My simple question is this:
Why have the government get involved more deeply than it needs to? Why have the government spend tax dollars to transplant wolves to these areas? Why have the government thus become intrinsically involved in the managment of the species in the parks? Why do all this when the simple solution would be to open a season in the parks for hunters to go in and harvest a quota of elk, and be done with it? Why not allow hunters to pay to do this, instead of having the government pay to bring wolves in, and then have to continue to fund management of them indefinitely?

People have to learn that unlike men like Wilson, FDR and Johnson professed, government is not an effective answer to society's problems, or environmental problems, or any other problem.

William

Well said Ethan. I'm all for opening National Parks for hunters to control game populations. I'm also all for wolves in National Parks too. They eat the sick and weak animals that hunters don't harvest so that the overall game population is stronger and healthier. One thing I should add is that if human interests are held above other animals' interests this is bad for everyone. Human interests are just too greedy and corrupt to count on.

Mike Diehl

Let's get off the disneygoround here. Predators like wolves, coyotes etc are unlike humans. WE manage species. These others, by contrast, don't "improve the herd by taking down the aged and sick." They take down targets of opportunity. Most of the time, they eat healthy subadults -- fawns especially.

As long as we allow people to hunt, there is no worry about the threat of overpopulation (which is the only serious problem that herd animals can encounter when they lack predators).

Matt Mallery

Ethan,

You say I put the interests of wolves over man. Did you ever ask if maybe man asks too much from this world? Our population will increase by 3 billion humans in 100 years. Maybe instead of asking nature to always give more, we should learn to live with a little less, and use birth control.

You say the grizzly is restored as much as it can be. The girz, like bison, is restored as much as the ranchers and developers will allow it to be.

You say the plains have changed too much for bison.Maybe if bison did not have to compete with cattle, and maybe if the native grasses were restored, there would be more suitable habitat.

You say that cattle carry diseases that devestate elk herds and vice versa. Well get the damn cattle off public land and it will be less of a problem. The elk and bison and wolves have a right to roam free over their natural habitat.

You ask why the government must get involved. Good question.Let's do away with taxpayer funded trapping and hunting of predators, the so called Wildlife Services. Let's do away with subsidies for the beef industry. Let's do away with government built windmills, troughs, fences, and roads that are built for the ranchers.

I am so sick of hearing hunters defend ranchers and then complain that the elk and mule herds will be devestated by wolves. What about the bison and griz populations? Most of you will never hunt those animals because the ranching industry will not allow them to ever come back. The ranchers allow you to hunt the animals that they feel are safe for their cattle.


Matt Mallery

Ethan,

You say I put the interests of wolves over man. Did you ever ask if maybe man asks too much from this world? Our population will increase by 3 billion humans in 100 years. Maybe instead of asking nature to always give more, we should learn to live with a little less, and use birth control.

You say the grizzly is restored as much as it can be. The girz, like bison, is restored as much as the ranchers and developers will allow it to be.

You say the plains have changed too much for bison.Maybe if bison did not have to compete with cattle, and maybe if the native grasses were restored, there would be more suitable habitat.

You say that cattle carry diseases that devestate elk herds and vice versa. Well get the damn cattle off public land and it will be less of a problem. The elk and bison and wolves have a right to roam free over their natural habitat.

You ask why the government must get involved. Good question.Let's do away with taxpayer funded trapping and hunting of predators, the so called Wildlife Services. Let's do away with subsidies for the beef industry. Let's do away with government built windmills, troughs, fences, and roads that are built for the ranchers.

I am so sick of hearing hunters defend ranchers and then complain that the elk and mule herds will be devestated by wolves. What about the bison and griz populations? Most of you will never hunt those animals because the ranching industry will not allow them to ever come back. The ranchers allow you to hunt the animals that they feel are safe for their cattle.


TJ

You need a reality check. Do you have any concept of the repurcussions of what you are asking? So you think the whole center of the country from montana to illionois from border to border should just be "restored" and left for the wild animals? what are we going to eat? What good would it do to get cattle off of public land but then let buffalo roam? so you could see them from your car window? oh but there are no roads so that wouldn't work. You are so out of touch with reality. I am for all things conservation, in fact i have devoted my life to it, but i am also a realist and as cool as it would be to see pre-1850 america and all its wilds, I also am able to realize the economic realities of the world. And through research and sound scientific based management, both economic viability and conservation can be accomplished together.

Matt M

TJ,


What we have now is not conservation. What we have is land manangement dicated to us by the ranching industry. Have a small population of buffalo here and there that are considered some sort of menace to cattle and are not allowed to roam outside of a park is not conservation. Same can be said for wolves. Cattle overgrazing the land and native species being pushed aside to allow it is not conservation.

Roads? We have over 300,000 miles of roads in our national forests, pardon me,what is left that the Bush administraion has not sold off. That is enough.




Our Blogs



Syndicate