Senior Wolves Give Elk A Break

social security

Update: June 30, 2012

I posted this in 2009, just as the first wolf hunts were underway in Montana and Idaho. I believed that if we provided  fish and game managers with scientific fact about the detrimental effects of wolf hunting it might have some effect. How naive I was! The only thing they care about is pleasing two groups of people (hunters and ranchers) and “managing” wolves down to a shadow population of 100 to 150 animals per state.

===

November 5, 2009

It turns out wolves age just like people and according to wolf researcher, Daniel MacNulty, by age four, wolves are considered old. This insight into the life span of wolves could have far-reaching implications concerning “managing” them.   The older the wolf, the less threat they are to elk, due to their reduced physical stamina.

The teenagers and young adults of the pack do most of the leg work chasing down prey, while the older wolves are important at the end of the chase, with their larger bodies and heftier builds, they help youngsters with the take down.  It all makes perfect sense.  Dr. MacNulty states hunting wolves to reduce their numbers may backfire.

“It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.”

But wolf supporters don’t really believe wolf hunts are about “the science.”  Still I’m hopeful Dr.MacNulty’s research will open a few eyes.

===

Washed-up wolves

Surprising discoveries about aging wolves and their effects on elk

washed up wolves

The elk-hunting skills of wolves decline significantly with age, a University of Minnesota study shows.

Photo: Douglas Dance

By Deane Morrison

Contrary to their fearsome, folk tale-rooted image, wolves just aren’t all that good as predators. To bring down big prey, they have nothing but speed and teeth–no claws that can rip flesh, no massive paws to kayo their quarry.

Now, a University of Minnesota-led study of wolves in Yellowstone National Park shows how even that modest ability soon ebbs away. Daniel MacNulty and his colleagues found that the wolves were in their hunting prime at the ages of 2 and 3, but then their skills deteriorated steadily. They lived, on average, till age 6.

Writing in the September 23, 2009 issue of Ecology Letters, MacNulty, a postdoctoral researcher in the University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and his colleagues reported that the higher the proportion of wolves older than 3 in the park, the lower the rate at which they kill elk, their main source of food. The findings run counter to a belief, held by many ecologists, that wild predators maintain their physical skills as long as they live.

But the study “shows that aging impairs the ability of the wolves to catch elk,” says MacNulty, “The data connect aging with an important ecological process, namely predation.”

MacNulty has followed the Yellowstone wolves since their reintroduction to the park in 1995. He says the lowered hunting ability of older wolves may afford some protection to the elk, which would fare worse if all the wolves were spring chickens.

“For example, when 22 percent of the wolves in Yellowstone were 3 or older, the kill rate was 0.4 elk per pack per day,” says MacNulty. “If the older wolves were 52 percent of the population, the kill rate dropped to 0.22 elk per pack per day.”

In general, for every 10 percent rise in the proportion of wolves older than 3, the Yellowstone wolf population saw a decline in the kill rate of 10 to 15 percent, he says.

“… [W]hen 22 percent of the wolves in Yellowstone were 3 or older, the kill rate was 0.4 elk per pack per day. If the older wolves were 52 percent of the population, the kill rate dropped to 0.22 elk per pack per day.”

MacNulty has also documented the decline of individual aging wolves’ hunting skills. For example:

“Wolf number 21 in the Druid Peak pack lived to about 9,” he says. “Video of 21 over his lifetime showed him slowing down when chasing elk as he neared the end of life.”
As the geezer wolves lose their edge, the study suggests that young adults in the pack shoulder more of the workload and share their kills. This may provide aging members of the pack with a lupine version of social security.

Why wolf hunting may backfire

The number of elk in Yellowstone has declined in recent years, and many believe wolves are the main cause, MacNulty says. But he notes that drought, which has reduced the supply of plants elk eat, and predation of elk calves by grizzly bears have also probably contributed.

Montana legalized wolf hunting after the animal was taken off the endangered species list in 2008. But hunting of wolves won’t necessarily help the elk, and not just because only a few wolves have been taken so far, MacNulty says.

“It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.

Currently, MacNulty is working with a colleague at Michigan Technological University to “nail down,” or quantify, the effect on elk of wolf management that involves hunting. 

“We’re modeling wolf-elk dynamics and looking at how changes in wolf age structure affect elk numbers,” he says.

http://www1.umn.edu/news/features/2009/UR_CONTENT_143264.html

===

Photo: Courtesy Douglas Dance

Categories posted in: gray wolf,  wolf recovery, wolves under fire

Tags: gray wolf, wolf recovery, wolf research, senior wolves, MacNulty

The Amazing Journey and Sad End of Wolf 314F

May 31, 2012

This important story deserves a repost. The little Montana wolf didn’t have to die. She traveled so far searching for a mate, only to be poisoned for her efforts. Wildlife Services and it’s cache of deadly toxins must be abolished!!

UPDATE: January 10, 2011

I posted this sad tale in October 2009 about an amazing little Mill Creek Pack wolf, who traveled 1000 miles from her home in Montana to a lonely hillside in Colorado, called “No Name Ridge”, where her bones were found.

Her death has been under investigation by USFWS all this time.

Finally, after almost two years,  it was announced she was poisoned by the deadly compound 1080. It is one of the horrific poisons Wildlife Services uses in its arsenal to kill our wildlife.

The organization Predator Defense has been trying for years to ban this  deadly compound along with Sodium Cyanide, used in M-44s. So far they have been unsuccessful in their bid to do so. Maybe now people will wake up and realize they must  pressure Congress to ban these deadly poisons FOREVER.

Apparently Compound 1080 is banned in Colorado, which would make 314f’s death an illegal killing.

This is a sad day for me to learn how the little 20 month old 314f  died. Her epic journey to Colorado, ended in an agonizing death at the hand of Compound 1080.

====

Bill to Ban Two Deadly Agents Stalled in Congress

http://www.predatordefense.org/

=======

From Predator Defense:

Help Us Ban Compound 1080

“From its inception, Predator Defense has fought for a worldwide ban on the deadly poison called Compound 1080. Unfortunately, our bill to ban it is stalled in Congress.”

http://www.predatordefense.org/1080.htm

====

2009 Colorado dead wolf was killed by poison . . . the notorious 1080

by RALPH MAUGHAN on JANUARY 10, 2011

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2011/01/10/colorado-wolf-1080-poison/

====

“Two Killers that Need to Go: The Case Against Poisoning our Wildlife and Pets”

=====

It’s not just used in the US. “New Zealand uses 80% of the world’s production of 1080″ compound.

1080 Compound New Zealand’s Deadly Toxic Poison of Choice

http://www.careydillon.com/unpurenzfinal/poisons.html

=======

The Amazing Journey and Sad End of  Wolf 314f

October 10, 2009

Wolf1

She traveled through five states, her GPS collar registering 1000 miles.  This young Mill Creek Pack wolf  left her Montana home in September 08 and arrived in Colorado in February 09.  Her epic journey was long and precarious.  She was tracked through Yellowstone National Park, western Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, southeastern Idaho , northeastern Utah, finally arriving in Eagle County, Colorado.

Her journey ended in February 09 on a lonely hillside in Colorado called “No Name Ridge, where her bones were found.  Nobody is saying how she died.  The investigation into her death is ongoing.

314F’s life and death reinforces the argument wolves need ESA protection,  especially when they’re dispersing  in search of other wolves or a mate.  They’re under constant pressure from the SSS mentality, which makes this young wolf’s journey so incredible.

Against all odds, this twenty month old wolf showed the world what wolves are made of. I hope Wildlife officials discover how she met her end.  If she died by human hands this person or persons should be prosecuted!

=====

Lonely Lady Wolf Looks For Love in All The Wrong Places

Rocky Mountain News

By Berny Morson

Published February 25, 2009 at 3:09 p.m.

Call it the power of  love.

A female wolf has wandered more than 1,000 miles through five states in search of a mate and is now in Colorado’s Eagle County, wildlife officials in Colorado and Montana said Wednesday.

The wolf, known only as 314F, set off on her lonely quest in September when, for reasons unknown, she became unhappy with the male prospects among the pack of seven animals she was born into 20 months earlier.

Since then, 314F has followed her heart from the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone National Park through Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. She has trotted past areas where other wolf packs are known to live toward a state that has not had a wolf population for 60 years.

Montana officials follow her progress with a global positioning device on a collar that was fitted to her neck in July.

“Basically, what she’s doing is, she’s wandering around looking to see if there’s other wolves around,” said Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Her prospects here are not good. The last confirmed wolf sighting in Colorado was a male who made his way from Yellowstone in 2004. But he was killed on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs before anyone knew he was here.

Colorado Division of Wildlife biologist Shane Briggs said that when wolf packs get too large, some animals leave in search of a mate with whom to start a new pack in a different area, Briggs said. That’s how the species increases its range, he said.

Before the 2004 sighting, wolves were considered extinct in Colorado. The last confirmed one had been killed in 1943.

Wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2009/feb/25/yellowstone-wolf-travels-1000-miles-colorado/?partner=RSS

=====

MYSTERIOUS DEATH

News_Colorado_Wolf-300x0

Wolf 314F lies under anesthesia after being fitted with a GPS collar on July 1, 2008. The collar has tracked the wolf on an epic journey from Montana to Colorado. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks photo

Suspicion Surrounds Colorado Wolf Death

Did the epic journey of Wolf 341F from Montana to Colorado end at the hands of a human? Officials aren’t saying.

By David Frey, 9-27-09

A wolf that wandered from Montana and died in Colorado earlier this year met its end on a hillside about 24 miles north of Rifle, according to government documents obtained by an environmental organization.

Federal wildlife law enforcement officers continue to investigate the death of a Montana wolf that wandered from Montana and died in Colorado, nearly after a year after the wolf’s carcass was collected, raising speculation that the wolf was killed by a human.

“It’s a good question, but I’m not going to answer it,” says George Morrison, Colorado senior wildlife agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Morrison confirmed the examination of the body, called a necropsy, had been completed, but he said the results would be closed to the public until agents complete their investigation.

“It could be two weeks or as long as a year,” he says. “It’s important to us not to impede the investigation.”

Wildlife officials have refused to divulge specifics about the wolf’s condition or its final whereabouts. But Rob Edward, carnivore recovery director for WildEarth Guardians, said he discovered its final location through an open-records request seeking information about wolves in Colorado. The documents showed the last location of the wolf to be about 24 miles north of the Western Slope town of Rifle, less than two miles west of Highway 13.

“I have believed for the last couple of months that they definitely have a law enforcement angle on this,” Edward said. “Otherwise they would tell you that it died of natural causes.”

Intentionally killing a wolf in Colorado would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act and state statutes that protect endangered species.

Edward described the site as “within rifle distance of a road.” Maps show the location to be what appears to be a scrub-covered hillside in an area known as No Name Ridge, apparently on Bureau of Land Management land just north of a dirt road called Thirteenmile Road.

“That’s the way the wolves from the Northern Rockies are going to come,” Edward said. “What we have to work on is making those lands safer.”

Known as wolf 341F, the 18-month-old female made headlines for making a 1,000-mile journey from the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park to Colorado. Biologists tracked her movements using a GPS unit in a collar fitted to her neck.

Researchers said she was a member of the Mill Creek pack and wandered from the pack’s location between towns of Gardiner and Livingston, Mont., in search of a mate.

She left her pack in September 2008 and took a meandering path through Wyoming, Idaho and Utah to Eagle County. She crossed back into Wyoming, then back into western Colorado where her collar showed she stopped moving. Biologists responded and gathered her carcass to perform a necropsy.

Native wolf populations in Colorado were wiped out by the late 1930s. The last record of a native wolf killed in Colorado was in 1943. In June 2004, a radio-collared wolf from Yellowstone was found killed by a passing motorist on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs. In 2007, video footage captured an apparent wolf near Walden.

Officials say among Northern Rockies wolves, 26 out of every 100 wolves are killed, almost all of them shot by animal control officers or poachers. Among lone-dispersing wolves like this one, most are hit by cars or illegally killed.

State law does not call for wolf reintroduction, but it does protect wolves that wander into Colorado.

For wolf reintroduction advocates, this wolf’s death highlights a need for more protections.

“They’re not going to come down here and repopulate the area on their own,” Edward said, “especially if they meet that kind of fate.”

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/suspicion_surrounds_colorado_wolf_death/C41/L41/

* It’s been reported that wolf  314F’s number is actually 341F but since she is so well-known as 314F, I didn’t make any changes.

 ==== 

Top Photo Compound 1080: Courtesy of AGRO

Middle Photo Compound 1080: Courtesy of Predator Defense

314F Photo: Courtesy New West

Posted in: Montana wolves, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife

Tags: 314f, dispersing wolves, wolves in the crossfire, deadly compound 1080, No Name Ridge, Montana, Colorado, Mill Creek Pack

How Lonely Is The Night Without The Howl Of A Wolf…..Unknown

For the over five hundred wolves that were slaughtered last year in the Northern Rockies and for the wolves that continue to be killed here for agribusiness.

 

Posted in: Wolf Wars, wolves under fire

Tags: Wildlife Services, Montana FWP, IDFG, aerial gunning of wolves, wolves or livestock, tribute to fallen wolves 

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 2:17 am  Comments (11)  

Montana FWP Thinks 2009 Wolf Hunt ‘Good Day For Montana’

 

I was shocked by the headline in the Missoulian, “FWP says 2009 wolf hunt ‘a good day for Montana’, quoting Carolyn Sime, Montana state wolf coordinator.  FWP even released a report on the hunt.  Apparently, the devil is in the details. 

Of course they’re going to be thrilled with themselves, they planned the hunt mere months after gray wolves were delisted. What are they going to say? We did a miserable job and 203 wolves are now dead in Montana between the hunt and wolves killed by Wildlife Services? 

The wolf population in the state, before all the killing started, was approx. 450-500 wolves. Is anyone considering the Montanans that are wholly against the wolf hunts? That we consider this slaughter plain and simple in the name of hunting and ranching. That over FORTY PERCENT of Montana’s wolves are dead and Wildlife Services isn’t done yet?  There are kill orders out on 22 more wolves from five packs, if they haven’t been killed already. No, the Montana hunt and shadow Wildlife Service hunt was not a wonderful success. FIVE HUNDRED NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES ARE DEAD.

This statement from the article caught my eye. “Others worried about the potential to wipe out entire packs.” How many packs of wolves has Wildlife Services taken out this year? I can name the Sage Creek Pack, the Big Hole Pack the Centennial pack AND they are gunning for the Mitchell Mountain, Battlefield and Pintler packs. Visit my wolf pack memorial page to see how busy they’ve been. Wildlife Services gunned down twenty seven members of the Hog Heaven Pack last year. TWENTY SEVEN WOLVES. Nine entire packs were wiped out in Montana in 2008 by WS on the orders of FWP. Are people living in dream land concerning what is happening to wolves in Montana and the Northern Rockies in general?? We didn’t need a Montana wolf hunt. WS killed more wolves this year then the hunts. The combination of the two was a double whammy to wolves. This is why State Fish and Game Agencies shouldn’t be managing wolves.

It’s a grim time for Montanans who care about wolves and it’s certainly a disaster for wolves. What in the world is there to celebrate or be happy about concerning wolves?

Posted in: Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Montana wolf hunt, Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves

Tags: Wildlife Services, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf/canis lupus, wolves or livestock

Killing Wolves For Fun and The War Against Wolves

December 18, 2009

Wolves have been accused of it but the predator with the reputation for killing for sport isn’t the wolf, it’s man.

I’ve often asked myself why people trophy hunt, this is especially relevant now since wolves are firmly in the cross-hairs, with the ongoing wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho. 

Wolves aren’t being hunted for food.  Hunters make a personal decision to go out and kill a wolf just because it’s there.

Over 25,000 wolf tags have been sold in the two states to kill 295 wolves. A little over kill, don’t ya think?  Add to that the hatred some people feel for wolves, it makes for an even scarier and mean spirited climate for wolves.

Even before the wolf hunts began the air was charged with anti-wolf bias. The governors of Montana and Idaho inserted themselves into the negative wolf rhetoric.  Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana made a questionable statement about federal Judge Molloy, who is presiding over a lawsuit brought by environmental groups to reverse the wolf delisting.  The plaintiffs were asking for an injunction, to stop the wolf hunts, while the merits of the case were being decided.  Governor Schweitzer stated:  ”If some old judge says we can’t (hunt wolves), we’ll take it back to another judge.”  That was a totally indefensible remark for the Gov of a state to make. especially since it was couched as a threat.  Gov Otter of Idaho went one better.  Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated, in front of a rally of hunters, many wearing camouflage, he was prepared to manage the wolf population down to just 100 animals. He went even further stating “. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”

The “management” or killing of wolves is sanctioned by the states of Montana and Idaho but exactly who is this benefiting?  Certainly not the ninety percent of the non-hunting public.   Wolves and other predators are being “managed” for the benefit of a few interest groups, mainly elk hunters, ranchers and outfitters.  The rest of us, who want to view wildlife in their natural state, which means “not dead”, don’t seem to count.  Our wildlife is being slaughtered for the benefit of a few. That is inherently wrong but it continues because hunting and ranching interests have powerful lobbies that seek to influence policy. That’s the way business has been conducted and unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the politics of change, our predators will continue to suffer.

The states of Montana and Idaho and many others have made the decision which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable.  There is no need to manage predators yet we spend millions of tax payers dollars tracking, collaring and killing  predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE. poisoning (1080 compound, M44s)denning and trapping.)  All this is for agriculture and hunting interests. The rest of us be damned.

The states aren’t comfortable with predators controlling ungulate populations because they cater to hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions of dollars into state coffers.   When predators,  like the wolf,  increase in number, the call rings out for them to be “managed”.   “In 2008, wolves are known to have killed fewer than 200 cattle and sheep in Montana, and 100 wolves were hunted down in response.”  How can you even defend that kind of senseless slaughter? Yet the states of Montana and Idaho trumpet their wild life management practices are backed by “science”.  I would like to see the science that condones 100 wolves losing their lives for the death of 200 livestock?

In January 2008, before the current wolf delisting took place, FWP issued revised rules concerning the “management” of gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone in 1995, 1996.  The new rules state the feds and tribes can kill more wolves if they become a “threat” to game animals and private property.  So once again FWP is “managing” for the benefit of the few ignoring the wants of the many.

Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park and watched the Druid Peak Pack?  Every year, people flock to the park to catch a glimpse of the super star wolves, yet Montana FWP decided to open the wolf hunt right outside park boundaries.  This bad decision resulted in the decimation of the famous, Cottonwood pack, specifically alpha female 527f, her mate the alpha male and their daughter.

Enter trophy hunting of wolves into this explosive, negative environment.  I won’t call trophy hunting a sport.  It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. although most hunting falls under that category. The only way it could be considered fair is if you put the “hunters” in the woods without their high powered rifles or bows and have them run up against a wolf or bear with their bare hands, you know, Mano y Mano. How many “brave” hunters would be out there killing wolves for fun in that scenario?  I say the number would be ZERO.

Killing for sport is a cowardly exercise that features an uneven playing field between hunters and the hunted, just for the cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men).  How skillful and brave do you have to be to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against your high powered rifle?  Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name.

Even though I’m not a hunter and would never want to kill an animal, there are people who hunt for food.  When you examine this a little closer you realize hunting is expensive, so it’s not usually a poverty-stricken person, trying to put meat on the table that’s “hunting for food.”   You have to have money to hunt. There are tags to buy, high cost rifles and ammunition, hunting equipment, etc., it all adds up to big bucks, pun intended.  People who choose to hunt elk, deer or moose, do so at great expense!  The main reason given for sustenance hunting does not really stand up when you examine it closely.  I believe people hunt, not because they want to fill their freezers but because they enjoy the thrill of the chase, enjoy the outdoor experience, getting away from it all and derive some pleasure from the actual kill itself.  But, if hunters at least eat what they kill, then the animal didn’t die in vain.  I will never, ever condone hunting for myself but I won’t malign all hunters.

On the other hand, killing for fun cannot be defended, IE. trophy hunting or sport hunting.  It’s blood-lust, pure and simple.  Wolves should not be subjected to this in the 21st Century.  We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?

===

Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/why_state_fish_and_game_agencies_cant_manage_predators/C564/L564/

Photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom
Categories posted in: Wolf wars, wolves under fire
Tags: killing wolves for fun, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, Obama administration de-listing

Idaho Closes Another Wolf Hunt Zone But Is Considering Extending the Season

Idaho closed Dworshak-Elk City wolf kill zone.  This is the third zone to be closed after the quota of  18 dead wolves had been reached, the other zones closed are the Upper Snake and McCall-Weiser.  108 wolves have been slain in Idaho since the wolf hunt began on September 1, 2009.  

Even though Idaho has now closed three of it’s twelve wolf hunt zones they are considering extending the hunts past the December 31st, 2009 deadline.  They already have a seven month long wolf hunting season in the Sawtooth and Lolo zones, which extend to March 31, 2010, right through wolf mating season.  Now they’re thinking of extending other hunting zones.  This is ridiculous. The rules have already been set, what other hunted animal have they extended the season for?  When the deadline is reached the hunts should be over.  Just more bad news for wolves in Idaho!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in: Idaho wolf hunt, wolves under fire

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt, trophy hunting wolves, wolves in the crossfire

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 1:54 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Killing Wolves For Fun & The War On Wolves

 

yellowstone wolf runnintg

Wolves have been accused of it but the predator with the reputation for killing for sport isn’t the wolf, it’s man.

I’ve often asked myself why people trophy hunt, this is especially relevant since wolves are firmly in the cross fire, with the ongoing wolf hunts in Montanaand Idaho.

Wolves aren’t being hunted for food.  Hunters are making a personal decision to go out and kill a wolf just because it’s there.

Over 26,000 wolf tags were sold in Idaho alone to kill 220 wolves and Montana sold thousands to kill 75 wolves.  A little over kill, don’t ya think?  Add to that the hatred some people feel for wolves,  it makes for an even scarier and mean spirited climate.

alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

Alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

Even before the wolf hunts began the air was charged with anti-wolf bias. The governors of Montana and Idaho inserted themselves into the negative wolf rhetoric.  Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana made a questionable statement about federal Judge Molloy, who is presiding over a lawsuit brought by environmental groups to reverse the recent wolf delisting.  The plaintiffs were asking for an injunction, to stop the wolf hunts, while the merits of the case were being decided.  Governor Schweitzer stated:  “If some old judge says we can’t (hunt wolves), we’ll take it back to another judge.”  That was a totally indefensible remark for the Gov to make. Gov “Butch” Otter of Idaho went one better.  Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated in front of a rally of camouflage wearing hunters, he was prepared to manage the wolf population down to just 100 animals. He went even further stating “. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”

Should the executive officers of Montana and Idaho, use the wolf as a political football by posturing to ranching and hunting interests?  What chance does the wolf have to be treated fairly when even the governors  make those kinds of statements?

The “management” or killing of wolves is sanctioned by the states of Montana and Idaho but exactly who is this benefiting?  Certainly not the ninety percent of the non-hunting public.   Wolves and other predators are being “managed” for the benefit of a few interest groups, mainly elk hunters, ranchers and outfitters.  The rest of us, who want to view wildlife in their natural state, which means “not dead”, don’t seem to count.  Our wildlife is being slaughtered for the benefit of a few. That is inherently wrong but it continues because hunting and ranching interests have powerful lobbies that seek to influence policy and it works! Unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the policies of change, America’s predators will suffer.

hayden pack wolves

wolf photo: SigmaEye Flicker

Montana and Idaho and others have decided which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable.  Predator management is just a euphemism for killing them.  Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on tracking, collaring and lethally controlling predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE, poisoning with 1080 compound, M44s, denning and trapping.  Most of the killing is done by Wildlife Services, which is an arm of the USDA.  The lethal control of wolves is not supported by the majority of Americans but we have little input in the decision making process.  Why does the non-hunting consumer have so little input into how our wildlife is managed?

Although predators can control ungulate populations, the states aren’t comfortable with that because they cater to hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions into state coffers.  creating a conflict of interest for state game agencies who manage predators like the wolf.  Wolves compete with hunters for the same prey.  The budget of state game agencies depend on hunter licensing fees.  Is it any wonder we are having wolf hunts and wolf “management”?

As soon as predators, like the wolf, start to increase in number, the call rings out for them to be managed.   “In 2008, wolves are known to have killed fewer than 200 cattle and sheep in Montana, and 100 wolves were hunted down in response.” 

How can anyone defend that kind “managment”? Yet Montana and Idaho contend their wildlife management practices are grounded in science.  I would like to see the science that backs wiping out 100 wolves for the death of 200 livestock?

In January 2008, before the current delisting took place, FWP issued new revised rules concerning the “management” of  gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone.  The new rules state the feds and tribes can kill more wolves if they become a “threat” to game animals and private property.  So once again FWP is “managing” for the benefit of the few ignoring the wants of the many.  How shocking.

Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park and watched the Druid Peak Pack?  They were literally the super stars of Yellowstone, sadly the pack is plagued by mange, their numbers dcclining, yet we are caught up in wolf hunts, which threatens them and other wild wolves in the park.  Already the famed Alpha female, 527F, of the park’s Cottonwood Pack, was gunned down a mile outside of Yellowstone, along with the Alpha male and her daughter, when the Montana hunt began.  This basically decimated the Cottonwood Pack and halted important research into some of  Yellowstone’s famous, studied, collared wolves.

Trophy hunting of wolves only inflames passions and hatred of wolves in some quarters.   I won’t call trophy hunting a sport.  It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. The only way it could be considered fair is if you placed the “hunter” in the woods without their high powered rifle or bow and have them run up against a wolf with their bare hands, you know, Mano y Mano. How many “brave” hunters would be out there killing wolves for fun in that scenario?  I say the number would be ZERO.  Killing for sport is a cowardly exercise that features an uneven playing field between hunters and the hunted,  just to get a cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men).  How skillful and brave is it to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against you, with a scope and high powered rifle? Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name!!   It’s blood lust pure and simple.  Wolves shouldn’t be subjected to this in the 21st Century.  We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?

286_lobo_wolf-wars

Lobo wolf wars

The most encouraging words come from Richard Baldes, a Shoshone and former Fish and Wildlife Service biologist on the Wind River Indian Reservation, inhabited by Arapahoe and Shoshone tribes.  They are managing to coexist very well with the wolf and welcome Canis Lupus.  He explained the tribe’s views to High Country News in 2008:

“The tribes’ management plans are pretty simple. “The Wind River Reservation is somewhat of a sanctuary,” Baldes tells me from his porch at the foot of the Wind River Mountains. Much as they do with the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho, which was instrumental in the original reintroduction, wolves play an important role in the lore and religion of Shoshone and Arapahoe people. Wolves represent a social role model, for starters: “They take care of the family,” Baldes says. “The aunts and uncles take care of the young, and they also take care of the old.”
 
The obvious parallels between government efforts to eradicate wolves and past efforts to eradicate Indians aren’t lost on Baldes. In fact, the resurgence of wolves is a powerful metaphor on the reservation. “The Creator put them here for a reason,” Baldes says. He chuckles to himself about the raging controversy. “People have made the issue with wolves much more complicated than it needs to be,” he says. “It’s just a nice feeling to know that these animals are back and that they’re going to be here to stay. I don’t see any reason why they won’t be here forever.”
 
running wolf
 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
================== 
Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators
 
By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09
  
minn gray wolf
 http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/why_state_fish_and_game_agencies_cant_manage_predators/C564/L564/
 
Photos: Courtesy Wiki Commons, Sigma Eye and James Balog 
Categories posted in: Wolf wars, wolves under fire, 
  
Tags: trophy hunting wolves, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, obama administration de-listing, Druid Peak Pack

Senior Wolves Give Elk A Break

social security

Update: June 30, 2012

I posted this in 2009, just as the first wolf hunts were underway in Montana and Idaho. I believed that if we provided  fish and game managers with scientific fact about the detrimental effects of wolf hunting it might have some effect. How naive I was!

===

November 5, 2009

It turns out wolves age just like people and according to wolf researcher, Daniel MacNulty, by age four, wolves are considered old. This insight into the life span of wolves could have far-reaching implications concerning “managing” them.   The older the wolf, the less threat they are to elk, due to their reduced physical stamina.

The teenagers and young adults of the pack do most of the leg work chasing down prey, while the older wolves are important at the end of the chase, with their larger bodies and heftier builds, they help youngsters with the take down.  It all makes perfect sense.  Dr. MacNulty states hunting wolves to reduce their numbers may backfire.

“It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.”

But wolf supporters don’t really believe wolf hunts are about “the science.”  Still I’m hopeful Dr.MacNulty’s research will open a few eyes.

===

Washed-up wolves

Surprising discoveries about aging wolves and their effects on elk

washed up wolves
The elk-hunting skills of wolves decline significantly with age, a University of Minnesota study shows.

Photo: Douglas Dance

By Deane Morrison

Contrary to their fearsome, folk tale-rooted image, wolves just aren’t all that good as predators. To bring down big prey, they have nothing but speed and teeth–no claws that can rip flesh, no massive paws to kayo their quarry.

Now, a University of Minnesota-led study of wolves in Yellowstone National Park shows how even that modest ability soon ebbs away. Daniel MacNulty and his colleagues found that the wolves were in their hunting prime at the ages of 2 and 3, but then their skills deteriorated steadily. They lived, on average, till age 6.

Writing in the September 23, 2009 issue of Ecology Letters, MacNulty, a postdoctoral researcher in the University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and his colleagues reported that the higher the proportion of wolves older than 3 in the park, the lower the rate at which they kill elk, their main source of food. The findings run counter to a belief, held by many ecologists, that wild predators maintain their physical skills as long as they live.

But the study “shows that aging impairs the ability of the wolves to catch elk,” says MacNulty, “The data connect aging with an important ecological process, namely predation.”

MacNulty has followed the Yellowstone wolves since their reintroduction to the park in 1995. He says the lowered hunting ability of older wolves may afford some protection to the elk, which would fare worse if all the wolves were spring chickens.

“For example, when 22 percent of the wolves in Yellowstone were 3 or older, the kill rate was 0.4 elk per pack per day,” says MacNulty. “If the older wolves were 52 percent of the population, the kill rate dropped to 0.22 elk per pack per day.”

In general, for every 10 percent rise in the proportion of wolves older than 3, the Yellowstone wolf population saw a decline in the kill rate of 10 to 15 percent, he says.

“… [W]hen 22 percent of the wolves in Yellowstone were 3 or older, the kill rate was 0.4 elk per pack per day. If the older wolves were 52 percent of the population, the kill rate dropped to 0.22 elk per pack per day.”

MacNulty has also documented the decline of individual aging wolves’ hunting skills. For example:

“Wolf number 21 in the Druid Peak pack lived to about 9,” he says. “Video of 21 over his lifetime showed him slowing down when chasing elk as he neared the end of life.”
As the geezer wolves lose their edge, the study suggests that young adults in the pack shoulder more of the workload and share their kills. This may provide aging members of the pack with a lupine version of social security.

Why wolf hunting may backfire

The number of elk in Yellowstone has declined in recent years, and many believe wolves are the main cause, MacNulty says. But he notes that drought, which has reduced the supply of plants elk eat, and predation of elk calves by grizzly bears have also probably contributed.

Montana legalized wolf hunting after the animal was taken off the endangered species list in 2008. But hunting of wolves won’t necessarily help the elk, and not just because only a few wolves have been taken so far, MacNulty says.

“It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.

Currently, MacNulty is working with a colleague at Michigan Technological University to “nail down,” or quantify, the effect on elk of wolf management that involves hunting. 

“We’re modeling wolf-elk dynamics and looking at how changes in wolf age structure affect elk numbers,” he says.

http://www1.umn.edu/news/features/2009/UR_CONTENT_143264.html

===

Photo: Courtesy Douglas Dance

Categories posted in: gray wolf,  wolf recovery, wolves under fire

Tags: gray wolf, wolf recovery, wolf research

Idaho….Another Phantom Wolf Likely Killed

Sad to say Idaho Fish and Game believes a black male wolf killed near Gallena Summit, on Oct 20, was likely from the Phantom Hill Wolf Pack.  He would be the second member of the pack of all black wolves, lost to a hunter’s bullet.  The first member of the Phantom Hill Pack to be killed was Jewel, a young beta female.

81 wolves are now dead in Idaho.  I’m so outraged by this hunt, it’s totally senseless killing. 

howling for justice

Remembering Jewel…Phantom Hill Wolf Pack Female B445…Shot Dead

jewel 3

photo: courtesy Lynne Stone

http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/?s=jewel

===================================================

Wolf killed likely a Phantom Hill member

http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005128586

Categories posted in:  Idaho wolf hunt, wolves under fire

Tags: wolves in the crossfire, Idaho wolf hunt

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 12:00 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: ,

Wolf Hunt Re-Opens Today in Montana

roping a wolf

Cowboys take in a gray wolf on “Round Up” in Wyoming. 1887 photograph by John Grabill.

Is it the wild west all over again?  Wolf hating fever seems to be on the rise, AGAIN.  Over 25,000 wolf tags were sold in Montana and Idaho  for a chance to kill 295 wolves in the two states.  Those are scary numbers.  Call it trophy hunting, blood lust, a political statement or sticking it to the conservationists,  the wolf has become a political football.  It’s all about who’s in charge in the West, it’s all about control. 

“Approximately 100,000 hunters are expected to spread across public and private lands in the state to go after elk, deer, and the new addition of wolves. As a result local hunting supply stores saw some big lines over the weekend.

Officials say the elk and deer populations in the area remain strong, and there will be plenty of game available to go around.”

http://www.kfbb.com/news/local/65916472.html

Yet hunters continue to repeat the same tired old line, “wolves are killing all the elk”  when that claim has been de-bunked, by none other then the Rocky Mountain Elk foundation, certainly no friend to the wolf. According to the RMEF, elk numbers are higher then they were twenty five years ago, yet you wouldn’t know it by all the complaining.

Likewise rancher’s are  ” crying wolf” stating wolves are killing all their livestock but 2006 figures, from the USDA themselves,  state wolves killed a total of only 4400 cattle nationally compared to DOMESTIC DOGS, which  killed over 21,900 cows and coyotes 97,000Even so, that’s  only a tiny percentage of cattle deaths, 0.18%.

“In comparison, livestock producers lost 3.9 million head of cattle (3.69%) to all sorts of maladies, weather, or theft, respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving, unknown, other, disease, lameness, metabolic problems, poison (USDA, 2006)”

http://www.goagro.org/index.html

But the same tired rhetoric is repeated over and over.  Also not taken into consideration is the tremendous pressure wolves are under from Wildlife Services, who kill hundreds of gray wolves annually for livestock depredation, even though  wolves kill very few livestock compared to other factors.

It’s time for new voices to be heard.  You would think only ranchers, outfitters and hunters live in the West. They seem to be the only voices that are  listened to, maybe because they’re making the most noise.  It’s time wolf advocates voices are heard.  This statement can’t be repeated enough.

“If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out financed, and out voted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes.” -L. David Mech

WAKE UP WOLF SUPPORTERS!!

Please click on the link below to Defenders of Wildlife’s website, which states:

“Please sign our petition to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, urging him to withdraw his flawed delisting rule that prematurely removed vital protections for wolves in the northern Rockies region — before a lasting wolf recovery slips from our grasp.”

https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1586

 =================================================

Wolves in hunters’ sights as Montana big-game season opens

superior pack

The general big-game season opens in Montana on Sunday and wolves across the state will be one of the species targeted. This adult male is from the Superior pack along the lower Clark Fork River west of Missoula. Photo by Fish, Wildlife and Parks

http://www.missoulian.com/news/local/article_17a6cb1c-c127-11de-8549-001cc4c03286.html

Categories posted in:  Montana wolf hunt, Idaho wolf hunt, wolf myths, wolf wars, wolves under fire

Tags: Montana wolf hunt, wolf myths, wolf intolerance, ken salazar delists wolves

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,972 other followers

%d bloggers like this: