UPDATE: I was ready to post this on August 5th but the relisting news broke the same day and that trumped everything. It’s a little dated but still timely.
Stop the presses. IDFG recently released a study confirming what we already knew, wolves aren’t killing all the elk in Idaho. Now I can sleep at night. I was tossing and turning trying to figure out why or how a predator would kill off its prey base?
This is not news to wolf advocates. After all, if wolves ate all the elk in Idaho they’d be leaving Idaho in droves, dispersing to other states to eat all their elk. See how this works? Eventually they would travel the country wiping out ungulates everywhere. Once every last deer and elk were gone the wolves would be forced to return to GINORMOUS Canadian wolf land, where I suppose those wolves haven’t eaten all the elk for some unknown reason?
Of course I’m kidding but the hysteria surrounding this issue has been staggering. Hunters act like wolves are the only predators in the forest. It seems they’ve selectively forgotten the deadliest predator of all, THEMSELVES. In my opinion human hunters role in the decline of some elk populations has been understated. It’s just too politically incorrect for any politician or state game agency to infer that hunters kill lots of ungulates. Not only do they kill a large number of them but they go after the best and the biggest elk and deer. Wolves OTOH, cull the weak, sick and old. Yes they occasionally kill healthy animals but wolves are opportunistic hunters. They don’t own high-powered rifles with scopes or fancy hunting gear, wolves are fed by their feet , as the famous quote goes. They have to work very hard for a meal. When wolves chase down elk, deer or moose there is the potential for a flying hoof making contact with any part of their body. Many wolves suffer crippling injuries or fatal ones while hunting. If anyone deserves to hunt it’s the wolf. To continually be called on to defend wolves for doing what they were put on this earth to do is ridiculous. As long as we’re talking about elk we’re not talking about wolves.
“……the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none.”
So there you have it, hunters actually contribute to prey declines. What shocking news….NOT!
State game agencies exist to ”manage” wildlife, meaning lots of deer, elk and moose but few wolves, bears, lions and coyotes .
That’s how it works, it’s called “Wildlife Management” and it’s turning our forests into zoos. There is nothing natural about artificially high numbers of one animal over another, manipulating our wildlife for their own purposes which are:
• Money for state game agencies from licensing fees.
• Lots of animals for hunters to kill.
What about the wants and needs of over ninety percent of Americans that don’t hunt? Well my friends, as you may have guessed, we don’t count.
I noticed the study didn’t fail to mention the six elk lost to wolves in the LOLO zone.
“Biologists found that wolves killed significant numbers of collared elk in only one area, the Lolo zone along U.S. Highway 12 in north Idaho. Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk. Three-quarters of the collared elk survived, less than Fish and Game’s survival goal of 88 percent.”
Of course they aren’t trying to justify IDFG’s recent edict allowing four outfitters to kill up to five wolves each in the LOLO. No not at all. I think the outfitters only managed to kill five poor wolves, who were just minding their own business, after having survived the brutal Idaho hunts, that didn’t end until March 31, 2010. Just to refresh everyone’s memory the Idaho wolf hunt lasted seven long months, right through wolf breeding and denning season but I digress.
Well at least they admitted the LOLO elk herd was sinking long before wolves were ever reintroduced to Idaho. And finally someone mentioned the severe winter of 96/97, which anyone living in Idaho and Montana knows about. There was so much snow people’s roofs were collapsing. It wiped out the white tail deer in Montana and had the same effect on deer and elk in Idaho.
“White said deteriorating habitat in the Lolo zone has contributed to declining elk numbers since at least 1988, before wolves entered the picture. The population dropped by 40 percent during the severe winter of 1996-97 alone. Bears and cougars also kill many elk. Just across the border, Montana biologists are starting a similar collaring study in Ravalli County, where one factor of elk decline may be high human population growth.
The report said wolves caused the highest number of deaths in two other areas with declining populations. But in the Smoky Mountain zone west of Ketchum, where wolves were said to have killed 5 percent of about 30 collared elk, other predators and hunters together killed 7 percent. The Sawtooth zone, west of Stanley, had similar results.
Conversely, the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none.”
Maybe if they stopped killing wolves and other predators things wouldn’t be so out of whack. And it is out of whack because our forests and wild lands are not meant to have elevated numbers of one animal over the other. The states decide who the good and bad animals are. The good animals are the ones that hunters pay to shoot, the bad animals are the ones that compete with hunters for the same prey. Since wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes don’t pay licensing fees or vote, they are expendable.
We can’t let anything get in the way of artificially boosting ungulate numbers for profit, now can we?
F&G: Wolves not causing most elk losses
Saturday, July 31, 2010 1:20 am
Posted in: Idaho wolves, Howling For Justice
Tags: elk study, hunting, wolf hysteria,