Somewhere along the way wildlife managers decided that certain animals were vastly more important than others, none more than elk. Beautiful creatures they are but the fixation with elk borders on obsession. Organizations are dedicated to it. Entire state game agencies are devoted to maintaining elk populations over any other animal. Hunters spend millions on hunting tags, high-powered rifles, ammunition, etc. to pursue this animal. The elk is king in the West, to the detriment of the wolf.
Wolves are considered pests that must be controlled to protect elk. Wolves are the competition so they are destroyed. Wolves are counted as numbers, numbers of packs, numbers of wolves, numbers of dead wolves, numbers of wolves depredating on livestock, numbers of wolves inhabiting Yellowstone, numbers of wolves inhabiting Glacier, numbers of alpha wolves killed, numbers of wolf pups killed. I have yet to read anything from state game agencies about the effects the hunts are having on wolf social structure, the loss of alphas, the killing of wolf pups, the killing of entire wolf packs and the subsequent loss of their DNA. No it’s always about elk.
It’s always about elk.
Wolves don’t stuff elk heads and hang them on a wall, now do they?
In fact elk aren’t really gods, they are victims just like wolves. Trophy hunters cry that elk are eaten by wolves, their natural prey, when hunters inflict terrible suffering and pain upon the mighty elk, all in the name of “sport”.
Wolves hunt to live, trophy hunters kill for the thrill.
The brutal bowhunting of Elk in Skagit County shocked and outraged the public
Click here to watch on YouTube. It’s so horrific its age restricted.
Baby Elk cries for mom after being shot by bowhunter 3 times as mother watches helplessly
Who’s the brutal killer?
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Videos: Courtesy of YouTube
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Slob Hunters
Tags: Elk, Elk, Elk, Elk, dead Elk, dead Elk, dead Elk
This is a clip from the BBC with famed naturalist David Attenborough practicing his excellent wolf howl AND the wolves answer back. You’ll see the wolves rally and set off on their hunt.
Video: BBC Life of Mammals
Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity
Tags: gray wolf, apex predator, elk, wolves work hard for a meal, David Attenborough
This article highlights the hypocrisy of blaming wolves for elk population fluctuations. Elk and wolves have co-existed together for millenia. The elk owes its fleetness of foot to the wolves’ tooth. For selfish humans to deny wolves their right to eat, is the ultimate in self centeredness.
Many human hunters kill elk and then blame wolves if elk numbers dip. They expect fish and game agencies to keep elk numbers elevated, making it easier to hunt them. Competing with the wolf is something they won’t tolerate. In turn wolves are persecuted and killed to accommodate a small group of people, decreasing wildlife advocates ability to view wild wolves. We need a major change in wildlife “management”. It makes no sense that a minority of hunters should be catered to over the rest of the population.
Wolves cull the weak, sick and old ungulates, that’s how they keep elk and deer herds healthy. It’s why we have predators. Wolves are opportunists and occasionally kill healthy animals but the norm is to go after the least difficult prey. What would you rather do, battle a bull elk in its prime or chase an old cow elk?
On the other hand, human hunters stalk trophy animals, the big bulls, the best of the herd. They can do this because of superior technology as in high-powered rifles with scopes. Hardly fair chase. Not even close. Wolves don’t possess guns or high-tech bows, they use their natural hunting skills they were born with. An uncanny sense of smell, legendary endurance, ground-eating speed, close cooperation with their packmates, all combined with their remarkable intelligence. Quite the package.
Wolves hunt to live. Most humans hunt for sport, the meat is secondary IMO. Hunting is an expensive exercise. You have to buy special clothing, expensive guns and ammo, tags and licenses, own a sound rig with four-wheel drive, you may have to take some time off from work, etc. It’s not a poor man’s sport.
Who does more damage to ungulate herd health, wolf or man? I think we know the answer.
“Last year, Idaho Fish and Game wanted to kill 40-50 wolves in their Lolo zone because of their perceived effects on the elk population, yet they offered 1,492 elk hunting permits for that same zone.”
Don’t Blame Wolves for Elk Deaths
By Doris Lin, About.com Guide June 1, 2011
A new study confirms what animal advocates have been saying all along: Don’t blame the wolves for killing elk. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game conducted studies on collared elk in 11 study areas, and examined the causes of death. According to the Times-News, “Though statewide numbers have dropped some, claims that wolves are wholly responsible for declining elk populations aren’t holding up . . . Biologists found that wolves killed significant numbers of collared elk in only one area.” What were the other causes of death? Severe weather, bears, cougars, and hunters. In two of the 11 study areas, hunters were the number one elk killers.
Photo: Courtesy Caninest Flickr Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars
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,