About Elk….

This is a repost from 2009 but I could have written it yesterday. We’re still stuck in the same paradigm we were 4 years ago. The only thing that’s changed is the viciousness of the campaign to exterminate the wolf.

December 3, 2009

The wolf debate has become intrinsically tied to elk numbers and endless conversations and arguments revolve around this subject. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted, in an April 09 press release, that wild elk populations were higher in twenty-three states  then they were twenty-five years ago, when the organization started.  YET, those facts don’t sit well with some people, who refuse to believe wolves aren’t decimating elk.  I can’t recall  how many times I’ve heard elk hunters say……Well elk may be thriving in one part of my state but their numbers are down in another area.  Or elk are harder to hunt….etc.  I agree elk are harder to hunt because they’re on high alert, acting more like, ELK.  They browse and move, browse and move. It makes hunting them more difficult but when you have a high-powered rifle and the advantage of surprise I’m not going to feel sorry if you don’t bag an elk.  It’s not the responsibility of wildlife viewers to be concerned about the success of elk hunters.

Wolf recovery and wolves presence in the Northern Rockies is not about elk hunters or hunting in general, although many people want it to be.  It’s about wolves fulfilling their role in our wild places. It’s about tolerance and allowing the wolf to be the wild animal, apex predator they are, to do their job in culling ungulates and making herds stronger, what they’ve been doing for millennia.

“The dance of life and death between predator and prey makes many of us uncomfortable, and yet, prey species are also benefiting from the return of the wolf. Unlike human hunters who target healthy adult animals, wolves cull the sick and elderly from elk, deer, moose and bison herds, reducing the spread of disease and keeping the prey population as a whole healthier.”

“It’s important to remember that predators and prey evolved in lockstep together over millions of years,”  Marin Humane Society

It’s also not about conducting polls to see if  hunters are happy with wolves, or whether hunters think there are enough elk. It may be important in their world but the majority of Americans don’t hunt.

US Fish & Wildlife 2006 figures report there were 12.5 million hunters nationally with expenditures of 22.9 billion dollars.

BUT

Wildlife Watchers numbered 71.1 million and generated 45.7 billion dollars. Does it make sense that wildlife watchers have so little input in how wildlife is managed, when wildlife viewers outnumber hunters by such a large margin and generate more revenue?

Wolves have been persecuted for well over a  hundred years in the West, they were exterminated once for ranching interests by the feds.  It wasn’t until the advent of the Endangered Species Act that wolves slowly began to recover. Now the ESA is being attacked, with threats to re-write it and exclude gray wolves. The war against wolves knows no bounds. This is a perfect example of why wolves must be protected against scapegoating and persecution.

It’s constantly repeated wolves were forced on Idaho and Montana by the reintroduction program in 1995 but wolves dispersed to Glacier National Park  long before they were brought back to Yellowstone and Central Idaho by the feds.

Almost any discussion about wolves is accompanied by a critique of elk or livestock. If by some miracle we could move past these two issues and realize the wolf is a top predator that has a role to play in nature.  If emotion was replaced with science that tells us the  disappearance of apex predators around the world is causing ecosystem collapse, the science that shows the benefit wolves bring to ecosystems they inhabit, we could make progress in ending this battle.

Don’t get me wrong, I like elk, they are beautiful creatures.  Of course I like my elk living and breathing but the material point is, it’s not about elk.  It’s about wolves and what’s in their interest. They’ve been so demonized but in reality wolves are animals, the direct ancestors of our beloved dogs.There is no reason to assign motives to their behavior.  They are doing what they were born to do.

Somehow the focus must be shifted from elk, hunting, ranching, livestock and outfitters to the benefit of having apex predators on the landscape.

The dialogue concerning elk declines or increases is irrelevant to most Americans. What’s important in nature is balance, not picking one species over another. By manipulating elk numbers state game agencies have elevated elk to a god like status, woe to any predator that dares to interfere with their mission. Their transparent dislike for wolves is palpable. Neither USFWS nor the states have shown the wolf any consideration, which is evident in the way they kill entire packs including puppies. As long as this outdated mindset continues to dominant “wildlife management”, where the only priority seems to be how many prey animals are available for hunters to kill, wolves will never be safe or any predator for that matter.  What will it take to deliver the message to tone-deaf “wildlife managers’? It’s not about elk.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons and kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in:  elk flourishing among wolves, biodiversity, Canis lupus

Tags: wolf recovery, dispersing wolves, wolf myths, elk

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 2:11 am  Comments (22)  
Tags: , , ,

Dispelling The Canadian Wolf Myth

This is an April 2010 post that deserves another look. I wrote it after the 2009 wolf hunts had finally ended. Five hundred wolves were dead.

In light of the massacre I wanted to lay waste to one of the most idiotic anti-wolf myths that has grown legs and repeated over and over by the wolf hating crowd. Its goes something like this: The government reintroduced super wolves from Canada in 1995 who are bigger, more aggressive and alien to the US, wolves who previously had never stepped one toe in the Northern Rockies until 1995.   It’s a common mantra spread by the anti-wolf crowd and is not grounded in fact. But hey why bother with pesky facts? They just get in the way of demonizing wolves.

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Dispelling The Canadian Wolf Myth

April 12, 2010

If I had a dollar every time I heard the derogatory term “Non-Native Canadian wolf”, I’d be rich.

The myth goes something like this. Wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and Central Idaho in 1995 were a larger, non-native, more aggressive wolf then the wolves who roamed the Northern Rockies before the Western extermination. This kind of thinking and rhetoric is what fuels wolf hatred in the first place. When nasty rumors and stories get started they develop legs. Pretty soon people are repeating it as if it’s fact. My advice would be to do a little research on the history of wolves and their morphology, instead of repeating rumors and innuendo. But this myth has nothing to do with the search for truth, it’s all about demonizing wolves. Please make it your business to shed light on these fairy tales. The wolves will thank you.

I wonder how many people who make these claims have ever seen a wild wolf? I’ve been lucky to view wild wolves. One of my Malamutes, who passed away several years ago, was bigger and weighed more than any wolf I’ve ever encountered. He was 180 lbs full-grown. He was so tall he could actually eat food right off the kitchen counter. But unlike the wolf his body was stockier. Wolves have long legs, big feet and large heads, their bodies are also longer than dogs. This gives them the appearance of being bigger then they actually are. Wolves in the Northern Rockies weigh on average between 80-110 lbs. Wolves also weigh more when their bellies are full. That’s because after a kill wolves gorge on a meal because they may not eat again for several days. It’s feast or famine for the wolf. Remember, only one in ten wolf hunts is successful. They expend a great deal of energy during the hunt and very often have nothing to show for it.

Did you know 31% of the wolves killed in Montana’s hunt were under a year of age (juveniles) and weighed an average of 62 lbs.  31% were yearlings and weighed about 80 lbs. 62% of wolves killed in Montana’s wolf hunt in 2009 were a year old or under a year of age, in other words, PUPPIES! Shocked? Only 38% of wolves killed in Montana’s hunt were adults, weighing an average 97 lbs. The largest wolf weighed 117 lbs. Again way smaller than my Malamute. The average weight of wolves killed in the Idaho hunt was under a 100 lbs.

There is strong evidence the two subspecies of wolves that roamed the Rocky Mountains north and south of the Canadian border for tens of thousands of years (Canis Lupus Occidentalis – The Mackenzie Valley wolf) and (Canis Lupus Irremotus -The Northern Rocky Mountain wolf) mixed their genes. Some believe the Mackenzie Valley wolves bred the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf out of existence, instead of the government eliminating them.

It’s a specious argument, not grounded in science, to state Canis Lupus Occidentalis is a non-native wolf from Canada who was foisted upon the Northern Rockies region. In fact wolves know no boundaries and regularly cross back and forth between Canada and the US. There is no doubt sub-species exchanged DNA, making it almost impossible to tell how much of one subspecies is contained in another.

The number of wolf subspecies has been debated in the scientific world for some time, ranging from 24 to just 5. The one thing we do know is different subspecies of wolves mate and share their DNA. The truth is, wolves are wolves, with slight variations in height, weight or fur color.

Think how silly the notion is when you consider humans created the boundaries between Canada and the US. To wolves it’s all the same landscape. They do what wolves do, breed, form packs and when they’re old enough,  strike out on their own, looking for new territory and a mate. It’s really that simple. Wolf thy name is wanderlust.

Wolves have large territories and travel great distances to establish a place for themselves. Does anyone truly believe wolves didn’t freely cross borders before they were exterminated in the West? Invisible lines created by humans have no meaning for wolves. They go as they please, truly free yet horribly persecuted, never knowing why.

Wolves are great wanderers and can travel an average of 25 miles per day while hunting. One Scandinavian wolf, pursued by hunters, traveled 125 miles in 24 hours. Wolves have runners bodies, lean and sleek. David Mech, the wolf biologist once stated “Wolves are fed by their feet.” Covering ground, exploring, seeking new territory, is bound to the wolves’ soul.  One only has to read the tale of wolf 314f, just a year and a half old, who traveled from her home in Montana to a lonely hillside in Colorado  called No Name Ridge, where she was found dead under suspicious circumstances. She logged a thousand miles on her GPS collar during her amazing journey. Wolves are great adventurers and travelers.

Do wolf haters think there is some imaginary line at the border between Canada and the US that wolves didn’t dare cross? How ridiculous is that?

Long before the reintroduction, wolves made their way back to the US in the late 1970′s and early 80′s, dispersing from Canada to Glacier National Park,  They formed the Camas, Wigwam and Magic packs and these packs were not small, some numbering twenty to thirty wolves. Does this sound like an animal who’s afraid to cross an invisible line they’ve been navigating for thousands of years, long before Canada and the United States were even a thought?

It follows that sub-species of wolves will mix their genes and basically become a combination of both. The myth that wolves reintroduced from Canada are somehow enormous super wolves who never set foot on American soil before reintroduction, is ludicrous. If you don’t believe me listen to experts on the subject, who have worked with wolves for years and understand their morphology.

Carter Niermeyer Interview (Outdoor Idaho) Spring 2009 (Carter Niermeyer was the Idaho Wolf Recovery Coordinator for USFWS from 2000 to 2006)

Q.There are those who say we brought the wrong wolves into Idaho in 1995 and 1996, that they’re bigger wolves than the ones that were here.

CN: I have to support the science again, and specialists in morphology and genetics on wolves indicate that the wolf that was brought down from Canada is the same wolf that lived here previously. And I did some research into books on early wolves that were captured in the Northern Rockies, even as far south as Colorado during the days that wolves were being hunted down in the 1930s; and the body weights were very much the same.

So I feel that this wolf that was brought from Canada is the same species and genetics as the wolves that lived here once upon a time. I think people have to remember that the northern Rockies — we call it the northern Rockies in Idaho and Montana, but actually we’re a southern extension of the northern Rockies out of Canada — and all of those wolves in Canada have the potential and the ability to disperse. I believe what happened over the last 50-60 years is that individual wolves have come from Canada following the Rocky Mountain chain and ended up periodically in places like Montana and Idaho.

Or Mike Jimenez (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator)

Jimenez disputed claims that the wolves reintroduced from Canada in the mid-1990s are a larger, more aggressive breed than had historically lived in Wyoming.

While scientists once divided wolves into 24 subspecies, he said more recent DNA evidence shows five subspecies in North America. Further, given the fact that wolves tend to disburse hundreds of miles, he said wolves from Canada likely interbred with Wyoming wolves and vice versa before they were exterminated from the region.

“The idea that those Canadian wolves are different … the argument gets weak,” he said. “Where they transition from one subspecies to the next is totally up for grabs.”

People cling to anti-wolf myths because wolves have become scapegoats for anti-government feelings. Many anti-wolfers believe reintroducing wolves was forced on them even though bringing wolves home to the Northern Rockies was not a rogue scheme dreamed up by a few government biologists. It was supported by many Americans. In fact a poll taken in 1990 found two-thirds of Montanans supported bringing wolves back to the state. Even so, it was a huge battle that waged for decades because the same, small, vocal minority that opposes wolves today were against them then, IE: ranchers, hunters and outfitters.

The feds finally compromised and classified wolves as an non-essential experimental population, which meant they could be shot and killed for agribusiness.

The little known fact is Wildlife Services has been killing wolves for years, along with the wolf hunts in 2009/2010. Still without ESA protection wolves would NEVER have been able to make any kind of comeback. It’s been their saving grace and now sadly they are at the mercy of their enemies once again.

What’s behind the giant Canadian wolf myth that’s passed off as truth? I believe it’s fear of competition. Many hunters don’t want to share the woods or compete with wolves. They liked it when wolves were gone and elk were complacent, standing around all day, munching down aspen trees, never allowing them to get any taller than a few feet. Apparently hunters like lazy, slow elk, ones that are easier to kill.  Since the return of the wolf, elk are no longer complacent, their old nemesis is back and they know it.  I think Carter Niermeyer hit the nail on the head when he said:

“Hunters look at the wolf from many angles and perspectives, too, and I have to emphasize that I’m a hunter. Certainly wolves compete, but I don’t think they’re any excuse for not being a successful hunter. There’s tremendous numbers of game animals available to sportsman and with a little effort and sleuth, you still have great potential to collect a wild animal from hunting. I don’t know what the excuse was before wolves, but it has become the main excuse now for unsuccessful hunters. I mean, there are just so many other issues involved in why hunters are not successful, but the wolf is a lame excuse.”

It’s necessary to spread untruths about wolves to further the agenda of getting rid of them or make excuses for why a particular hunter wasn’t able to “get his elk” during hunting season. I’ve reported over and over that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted in the their Spring 2009 press release that elk numbers were up 44% nationally since 1984, when the organization was founded. They stated the elk herds in Montana, Colorado and Utah  increased between 50-70 percent.  The Montana elk population stood at 150,000 and Idaho at 105,000.  I guess that wasn’t good news to everyone, since it doesn’t fit in with the “wolf is decimating all the elk” argument. Hunters whine that elk numbers may be up in the state but down in some areas. Ummmmmm that’s how nature works. And I hate to break it to the elk hunters but it’s not all about them. Wolf advocates opinions are being ignored. We’ve had to watch in horror as wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List and hunted almost immediately.

This was unforgivable behavior by the states and certainly didn’t earn any points with wolf supporters about the states intent to “manage” wolves fairly.  It’s not a secret  a conflict of interest exists when it comes to state game agencies “managing/killing” predators.  They want to please their customers, the hunters, who demand more game. The saddest part of this story is wolves were brought back only to be used for target practice fifteen years later.

Carter  Niermeyer states:

It’s a little late now, but I wish that when the states assume management of wolves that there could have been some kind of a moratorium where the states took the responsibility and didn’t jump right into a wolf harvest, or a wolf culling, or whatever you want to call it. It would’ve been nice, I think, to establish some credibility with wolf advocates and conservationists, environmentalists and people who appreciate wolves for other values. And just sort of get a handle on things and get a feel for managing the wolf. Because there’s this perception that suddenly we’re going from a listed animal to a hunted animal and I think a lot of the public is having a struggle with coming along with that.

The other thing I wish could happen, too, is there’d be more dialogue between the broad term wolf advocates and the Fish and Game Department and talk about these issues more openly, because the conservation groups have been a close ally in getting wolf recovery moving forward and actually being partners, and now there seems to be this falling out and a relationship that’s deteriorating.

Wolf advocates are rightly upset to see wolves hunted at all, especially freshly off the Endangered Species List.

I wonder how hunters would feel if over 40% of the elk herd was killed in one season. What would they think of a seven month-long elk hunt like the state of Idaho imposed on wolves?

Are Canadians laughing at us when they hear the Canadian super-wolf myth? Does this mean Canadians are superior hunters, who seem to have no trouble bagging game with their Canadian monster wolves roaming the countryside?

The truth is wolves in the Northern Rockies today are the same wolves that were here before the extermination.  It’s not about how tall wolves are or how much they weigh or the color of their fur. This myth arose to turn wolves into aliens, to assert they don’t belong here, when in reality wolves have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, this is THEIR home.  In contrast to cattle, a non-native species, that destroys native grasses, releases methane and tramples the landscape. Of course I don’t blame cattle, they are just another exploited animal.

Hunters by their very nature are in the business of killing and not all hunters can shoot straight or are ethical. There are people who hunt out of their rigs, while drinking.  Gut shot deer roam the forest during hunting season, leaving blood trails until they finally collapse and die. I’ve seen deer with arrows sticking out of them, barely able to stand.

If anyone has seen Predator Derby pictures of bloody dead coyotes, or dead wolves displayed by their killers, who show  no respect, smiling like they’ve just won the lottery, understand it’s not the wolf that’s the deadliest predator. Wolves kill to survive. The cruelest predator of all is man. No giant wolf myth can compete with that!

HOWL for speaking the truth about wolves!

“May we all never be judged by anything so harshly or hold to as strict a life or unremitting of borders as the ones we try to place on and around wolves”…Rick Bass 1992 

Photo Courtesy Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Posted in: Wolf myths, Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf subspecies, wolf myths, wolves in the crossfire, wolf intolerance, demonizing wolves

Wolves, political stupidity, and fear-mongering…by Mark Bekoff

Wolves, political stupidity, and fear-mongering: Wolves are a clear and present danger

Ignorant politicians ignore science and allow the continued slaughter of wolves

Published on April 21, 2011 by Marc Bekoff in Animal Emotions

Once again wolves are the target oirrational political and media sensationalism. To quote from this recent article: Despite enactment of federal legislation turning wolf control over to state wildlife management and allowing licensed hunting of the animals, [Idaho Governor Butch] Otter welcomed his new authority to bring law enforcement to bear against any wolf threats to humans or livestock.

The gray wolf of the Northern Rockies is about to become the first creature ever taken off the U.S. endangered species list by act of Congress, rather than by scientific review, under a measure inserted into a sweeping budget bill.” 

To quote from this bill: “The uncontrolled proliferation of imported wolves on private land has produced a clear and present danger to humans, their pets and livestock, and has altered and hindered historical uses of private and public land, dramatically inhibiting previously safe activities such as walking, picnicking, biking, berry picking, hunting and fishing … it is the intent of the legislature to regulate the presence of Canadian gray wolves in Idaho in order to safeguard the public, wildlife, economy and private property against additional devastation.”

A clear and present danger, safeguarding against additional devastation. Wow, how poetic and what a bunch of lies!

Of course, Governor Otter knows nothing about the biology of wolves nor does representative Lenore Barrett, R-Challis. But this doesn’t stop them from making misleading and stupid comments about these amazing animals. Ms. Barrett won’t let her grandchildren play outdoors because of the supposed presence of wolves. And, conveniently ignoring the fact that there haven’t been any wolf attacks on humans since they were reintroduced to Idaho in 1995, Ms. Barrett claimed: “They’re killers, they do it for sport, and then they leave their victim still alive for a lingering death.” Ms. Barrett isn’t alone in promulgating fear-mongering lies. As I pointed out in an earlier essay on the plight of wolves, politicians, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, ignore science, and others who know nothing about the biology of wolves don’t hesitate to express stupid and misleading opinions.

READ MORE: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201104/wolves-political-stupidity-and-fear-mongering-wolves-are-clear-and-prese

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FEAR MONGERING

Fear mongering (or scaremongering) is the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end. The feared object or subject is sometimes exaggerated, and the pattern of fear mongering is usually one of repetition, in order to continuously reinforce the intended effects of this tactic, sometimes in the form of a vicious circle. (Wiki)

The following article is a prime example of what Mark Bekoff is talking about

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Ravalli County commissioner claims wolves ruining quality of life

HAMILTON – Ravalli County residents no longer feel safe letting their children play outside because wolves are so prevalent in the Bitterroot Valley, County Commissioner Suzy Foss contends.

Foss recently listed her concerns in a letter to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Joe Maurier, the five-member FWP Commission and Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

“Ravalli County is under great duress due to the overpopulation of gray wolves within our borders,” Foss wrote. “Our citizens, and in turn our county government, are suffering direct negative impacts to our general welfare and most especially the safety of our citizens and our local economic vitality.”

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_652303ce-de85-11e0-b621-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1XztJClNt

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To suggest wolves are a threat to children or anyone else for that matter in Ravalli County, has no basis in fact.  There has not been one single wolf caused death in the lower forty-eight in the last hundred years.  Not one wolf caused death since wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995. But people can and do say anything. Demonizing wolves has become a sport in the Northern Rockies.  Does the Missoulian consider this nonsense to be news?

These are real dangers to children and adults  in Ravalli county and across America. that have nothing to do with wolves.

Bee Stings

40 to 100 fatal bee stings in US per year

When One Bee Sting is Your Last

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AllergiesNews/story?id=8148229&page=1

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Dog Bites and Fatal Maulings

(We all love our dogs but facts are facts)

2005/2011 - 186 Fatal Dog Attacks

4.7 million dog bites per year 

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DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS


Montana 2008 

81 fatal accidents in Montana where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above

91 people were killed in Montana in accidents where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above

12 people were killed in Montana in accidents where at least one driver had a BAC between 0.01% and 0.07%

103 total deaths caused in Montana where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.01% or above 

http://www.dui-usa.drinkdriving.org/Montana_dui_drunkdriving_statistics.php

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Sex Offenders/Violent Offenders

Montana Department of Justice  ·  Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

83 registered sex offenders in Ravalli County

83 registered violent offenders Ravalli County

(Hamilton, Darby, Pinesdale, Stevensville, Coravallis, Florence, Victor, Florence)

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Hunting Accidents

How Safe is Hunting by Young People?

 From CASH website:

Of 333 documented hunting accidents in our database for the years 2004 and 2005, the percentages break down like this:

 63 accidents (injuries and fatalities combined) of children aged 18 and younger (18.92% of all accidents)

 34 accidents that resulted in injury to children aged 18 and younger (10.21% of all accidents)

29 accidents fatal to children aged 18 and younger (8.71% of all accidents)

 27 injuries of children aged 11-18 (8.11% of all accidents)

7 injuries of children aged 10 and younger (2.10% of all accidents)

 27 fatalities of children aged 11-18 (8.11% of all accidents)

2 fatalities of children 10 and younger (0.61% of all accidents)

Of 333 hunting accidents that I came across for 2004 & 2005, 135 of them resulted in fatalities (40.54% of all accidents)

Hunting Accidents 2010

http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/accident-archive-2010.html

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Deer Auto Accidents

“There are more than 1.5 million crashes involving deer each year which cause over one billion in damage, 150 of the deer collisions are fatal, and there are more than 10,000 people injured.”

Montana in top five nationally for car vs. deer crashes

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_1e474d2e-ac56-11de-aa73-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1Y0L5eq4D

“Throughout the centuries we have projected onto the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves”..Barry Lopez

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Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: Ravalli County, gray wolf hysteria, wolf myths, fear mongering
Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 12:59 am  Comments (21)  
Tags: , , ,

Don’t Blame Wolves for Elk Deaths by Doris Lin

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.”

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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.

http://animalrights.about.com/b/2011/06/01/dont-blame-wolves-for-elk-deaths.htm#commentform

Photo: Courtesy Caninest Flickr Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: elk, gray wolves, human hunters,  wolf myths

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm  Comments (14)  
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Facts Highlight Hypocrisy Of Wolf Persecution…

The war against wolves continues unabated.

In Oregon, where the state harbors a very small, fragile wolf population, House bill 3562 just passed. It’s called the “defense against attacking wolves legislation” and  “allows people to kill gray wolves to defend one’s life or the life of another person”

What is the purpose of this bill? Wolves are the least dangerous of all large carnivores. In ONE HUNDRED YEARS there have been only two human/wolf fatalities in North America, both controversial and without eye-witnesses. On the other hand hunters kill almost 1oo people every year in the US and Canada, wounding another 1ooo. Cows kill twenty people a year. Domestic dogs bite over 4 million people annually  and kill another 20. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. People have a better chance of dying in a hunting accident, getting killed by their own dog, stomped to death by a cow, knocked out of commission by lightning or getting kidnapped by aliens then they do from a wolf attack, which are almost non-existent.  The only reason this bill passed was to throw a bone to the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, who sponsored this and other anti-wolf bills. Passing this bill further demonstrates the ugliness  of wolf persecution.

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House bills alter coexistence of ranchers, wolves

http://www.dailyemerald.com/news/house-bills-alter-coexistence-of-ranchers-wolves-1.2213417

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Photo: Courtesy All About Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Oregon wolves

Tags: wolf persecution, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, wolf myths, wolf wars, Oregon HB 3562


Wolf Wars Continues, Prelim.Hearing, Missoula, Montana Today

Today wolves will be front and center in Judge Molloy’s courtroom AGAIN. I’m sure the anti-wolfers will be out in force, waving their signs, complaining about an animal most of them have never seen or ever will see in the wild. But then we all know this  crazy, unrelenting, sick campaign against wolves is at its heart, a culture war. On one side we have the passionate wolf advocates who believe wildlife  has worth, above and beyond killing them for pleasure. We want wolves protected, not a replay of 2009, when 500 wolves died in the Northern Rockies, mainly at the hands of hunters, Wildlife Services and poachers.

On the other side of this war are the anti-wolf forces. They claim wolves have worms (OH MY), they’re Canadian, they’re killing all the elk, they’re killing all the livestock, they’re carrying off children from bus stops, chasing people around in the woods and generally just destroying lives.

Of course this is all Kabuki Theater and pure  BS. The tapeworm they’re so worked up about can be carried by all canines and since we have over 70 million dogs in this country I think they should worry about their house wolves, not the wild ones. Has there been one recorded case of a wolf biologist contracting hydatid disease in this country? I haven’t read of one.  Since wolf biologists handle wolves and wolf scat you’d think they would be dropping like flies, according to the wolf hating crowd.  But you know, facts are pesky things, they get in the way of lies and damn lies.

As for wolves being Canadian, what does that even mean? Wolves have been crossing back and forth across the invisible line that separates the US and Canada for thousands of years. When wolves were exterminated the first time around in the West, they came back to Montana on their own in the early eighties, after the dust had settled and they felt safe enough to make the trip. By that time they were protected under the ESA.  There have been wolves living and denning in Glacier National Park for thirty years, long before they were officially “reintroduced” in 95/96 to Yellowstone and Central Idaho.

Wolves don’t even come close to being a serious threat to livestock. Actually all predation accounts for just 1% of cattle losses and it’s the coyote, not the wolf who is the main predator of livestock. In 2oo9 it was reported coyotes killed 12,000 lambs and 2300 sheep in Montana, while wolves were responsible for a few hundred. I don’t want to demonize coyotes, who labor under terrible persecution themselves, just offering a little perspective on this crazy war on wolves.  Cattle losses from the little coyote “song dogs” are nothing compared to cows dying from disease, calving and weather or being carted off by rustlers. Thousands of cows even drop dead from altitude sickness. But Wolf Wars isn’t about the truth. It about bending the truth. It’s about demonizing an animal who is the least dangerous of all large carnivores. Heck, deer are more dangerous than wolves. They cause hundreds of deaths each year in auto accidents, ringing up billions of dollars in damages.

Moose kill more people than wolves. Bees kill more people than wolves. Hunters kill more people than wolves, there are at least 100 fatal hunting accidents each year in the US and Canada alone, with many more people maimed and injured. But wolves, well they haven’t killed anyone in the lower forty-eight in ONE HUNDRED YEARS. And wolves are shy creatures. They fear man, they’ve been persecuted a long, long time. They want to be as far away from people as possible. You can’t count the wolves in Yellowstone, they’re habituated. They’ve got biologists chasing them around with helicopters to collar them, visitors lined up with their viewing scopes, tracking their every move. Those wolves don’t fear people and that’s sad because if there is another wolf hunt this year, they will be sitting ducks for hunters, just like the famed Yellowstone Cottonwood Pack, who was decimated with the opening of the 2009 hunt. Yellowstone wolves don’t understand invisible park lines and regularly cross back and forth across the boundary. Hunters were literally waiting for them. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Fair chase?

As for wolves killing all the elk, I think hunters have the wrong predator. They should be looking at themselves in the mirror. Fish and game agencies are in the business of keeping ungulate numbers high and predator numbers low.  Why? Because our wild places have been turned into giant game farms  for the pleasure of hunters who like to kill things. Their licensing fees pour into state game coffers. Whose side are these agencies going to come down on, the wolf or the hunter?

Since there are almost 400,000 elk in the tri-state area of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, I don’t think we’ll be running out of elk anytime soon. But in terms of wolves competing with human hunters for the elk killing prize, wolves don’t even come close. And wolves do elk a lot more good than man.  They cull ungulate herds and keep them healthy.

Wolf Wars is about them and us. It’s about outsiders and insiders. It’s about entitlement and egos. It’s about anti-government sentiment. It’s about machismo and dominion. It’s about pretty much everything except wolves.

So the charade plays out. The ten environmental groups who were part of a victory for wolves last summer ran scared when the anti-wolfers figured out they could run an end-round the ESA and encourage  politicians in the wolf states to do their bidding,.  So the big orgs caved and made a deal. A very bad deal I might add.  They gave up so much and got practically nothing in return. They tied their own hands and agreed not to file a lawsuit until 2o16. That is  stunning in its naiveté.

“The plaintiffs have agreed not to challenge any final rule designating and delisting any DPS prior to March 31, 2016. Further, they have agreed not to petition to list either the Northern Rocky Mountains DPS or any wolf population within the NRM DPS within the next three years.”

What makes them think there will be any wolves left in Montana and Idaho in 2016? If the states get a hold of them wolves could be gone by 2o13 or on their way out. Yet these groups were willing to make a deal with wolves’ lives, knowing the brutality that awaits them? Have they not been listening to the Governors of those states and their rhetoric, trash talking the federal wolf management plans?

A special thank you  to the four groups that refused to settle, Friends of the Clearwater, WWP, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and The Humane Society of the United States. You are heroes for standing firm and not running from a fight.

My hope is Judge Molloy will not sign off on this deal. I find it hard to believe he will, having to stay his own decision. Last August he ruled it was illegal to delist one segment of the wolf population while keeping another listed. Now he is being asked to set that aside?

Wolves are once again on the chopping block. It’s more high drama, I’m sure it will sell papers and increase ratings. For wolves the stakes couldn’t be higher. Some days I’m ashamed to be human.

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Federal Judge to Consider Gray Wolf Yet Again

Posted by George Prentice on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

http://www.boiseweekly.com/CityDesk/archives/2011/03/23/federal-judge-to-consider-gray-wolf-yet-again

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Wolf deal faces first test before Judge Molloy

By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press

Thursday, March 24, 2011 5:00 am

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_1f859078-55a2-11e0-b512-001cc4c002e0.html

Photo: Courtesy kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: settlement, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves, ESA, Judge Molloy, wolf myths

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 3:17 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Wolf Wars…Hate Mail

 
You won’t see this reported in the media. They’re just a small sampling of what I receive.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

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 2010/04/16 at 11:26 am 

Fuck all of you hippies

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:58 PM
I saw shoot every wolf out there

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:50 PM

I would like to see nebeki name and state where she is from so we can send her death threats

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 8:58 AM
I tried to post a comment but it looks like it got deleted. I put absolutely nothing negative in my originial post but since I am a hunter and have a different view the moderator here decided to delete it. That is completely fine, I only tried to educate some but like any anti-hunting group, it always falls on deaf ears. I am now agitated and I am making a promise to you all, I am going to go out this next winter and kill as many wolves as I can in this websites honor and everyone who posts here. In Alaska where I live, you can kill 10 wolves a day in most areas, and they are very abundant. I am going to go back and count every post negative to hunters and kill or trap a wolf for every one. I am going to kill double for you Nabeki. Sweet dreams!!
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:11 AM
“I have an idea. Lets declare open season on wolf lovers. Wear your “I (Heart) Wolves” into a bar in rural Montana on Saturday night. You narrow minded bleeding hearts make me sick. You don’t have a friggin clue about anything except what is popular. I suppose you are all Obama supporters and believe in the Global warming myth. Screw all of you. May something bad happen to your family, and it gets announced on world news.”
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:04 AM
 wolves kill.  I kill. seems pretty simple to me. If they were smarter and had opposable thumbs, maybe they’d have guns. No? too bad. They die!
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:58 AM
I hope you guys get your way and the wolves kill every living thing there. Then when they get hungry enough maybe they will take care of all you people too. After that they can starve to death and nobody will have to worry about either of you!
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:22 AM
Shoot all these worthless wolves. You raise and feed  in your backyard.If you want them so bad.
 
I’ll gut shoot one and let it painfully die for days.

Gallatin Canyon has plenty for target practice this spring.
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:59 PM
Can’t wait to kill me some Woofy and publish the bloody kill and butcher photos on the World Wide Al Gore Internet :Big ‘ole Grin Here to all the Woofy Lovers :).
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:13 AM
KILL ALL THE WOLVES!!!!!!
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:21 AM
How do I get my name listed on this list of GREAT people. I would like to thank them for a job well done and my calfs thank them.
 
Take a child hunting today
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:10 AM
Congrats to all the lucky hunters!  Well done.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to knock a few over here soon.  The only good wolf is a dead one, and if I see one, he’ll be a good one.
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:50 AM
I love wolves and I cant wait til I have a full body mount in my living room! They are so Beautiful, And they will look GREAT on my wall or in front of my fireplace.     IF you want facts,  Fact #1   THe only good Wolf is a Dead WOlf!   Now, put that in your pipe and smoke it!
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:49 AM
Good for them… I hope they kill them all… They are NOT native wolves, they are Canadian wolves that should of NEVER been introduced here!!! They are MUCH bigger than the native wolves were, and they are throwing everything out of wack… I hope they kill them all ! ! !
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:49 AM
Congratulations to all who harvested a wolf. I’m looking forward to killing a few more next year. RMEF open your eye these bastards are coming after you.
 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:28 AM
 you a moron…you need to get out a see the cycle of life…wolves eat each other….maybe you all can eat each other too.. :-)
 
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 Thursday, December 17, 2009 2:49 AM
I’m not sure what is going through your heads with all of this talk.  These animals will starve or die a slow painfull death due to mange.  This is where the animal rubs the fur off of their body and they slowly freeeze to death.  Maybe some of the animals that are shot are not killed right away but I’m sure it would be better than slowly freezing to death.  They will also become over populated then they will start to devour all of your beloved deer.  So before I sign off I hope you will think of the over populated coyotes that will be forced to eat dead, frozen, mangey relatives.
 
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:09 PM
 shoot the blasted things then maybe we will have some deer and elk again.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:03 PM

 Indeed. Karma. The wolves reap what they sew.

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Monday, February 8, 2010 4:48 AM
HAHAHA FUCKING KILL EM ALLL
 
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010 8:48 PM
It doesn’t matter what law is passed, in the remote areas of the west many people still go by shoot, shovel, and shut up.  Why punch your wolf tag if you don’t have to, that way you can get two for the price of one.
 
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:44 PM
You people are a bunch of crazies!
 
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010 5:18 PM
I almost feel sorry for killing a wolf.  When I pulled the trigger I think I saw the wolf cry.  Then it’s guts where blown onto the hillside and it moaned.
 
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Thursday, January 28, 2010 4:22 PM
Hey jerry b cry a little more ill make sure the next one shot is dedcated to you :).   KILL EM ALL ONE PACK AT A TIME
 
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Thursday, January 28, 2010 4:11 PM
God damn u people are pathetic what’s cowardly about hunting the cowards are u pussys sittin at home bitchin wgile I’m 7 miles in the woods packin elk out on my back give me a break
 
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Thursday, January 28, 2010 3:44 PM
To those folks listed above, congratulations on a successful hunt.  To you other whining, godd for nothing pieces of communistic crap, move to China, North Korea or some other communist regime…you DO NOT belong in my country.  You are not Americans and do not deserve to live here in the land of the free!
 
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Thursday, January 28, 2010 3:47 PM
FUCK U PPL

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 4:54 AM

Nabeki, Wolfs are predators and predators shall be managed, if they are not managed they will run rampid and start killing all living animals.  It is all you liberal son of a bitches plan to have wolfs desimate the elk and deer population so there will no longer be hunting, well fuck that, kill everyone of those damn wolfs and I hope the fucking wolfs eat your ass and your pets as well……….HUNT ON!!!!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009 4:28 PM

you guys are just plain fools
save the poor animals introduce wolves
some wolves should eat you while you are screaming in pain and still alive.
wolves should be completely removed your experiment is a failure it should have never happened in the first place.
you guys need “fools” tattooed on your foreheads
the liberals of this nation need to be required to where pink so when we have had our fill of you idiots we can know who you are and deport you and that’s my second choice of things to do with you

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:42 PM
you people need to shut the hell up.
 
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:53 AM
The only good wolf is a dead wolf! You people are so ignorant! Live your sheltered uneducated lives, and leave us normal hardworking people to manage the wildlife we live and deal with everyday!
 
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You are a joke. You all just need to remember one thing you do nothing to benefit wildlife. All you do is fund groups that sue, cause wildlife agencies to spend money on lawyers, and legal defenses instead of wildlife. If you want to help wildlife buy a hunting liesence as this is how all truley helping wildlife is funded. Please get a life and go do something productive.
 
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One more reason to buy Leupold…..
 
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what is wrong with a predator derby?
 
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FUCKING DUMBSHITS!!!
 
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wait till coyotes come and attack your pets or worse your children you bunny huggers will have a new outlook on coyotes when you bury a loved one because of them.
 
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You people are so fricken ignorant!
 
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The only good wolf is a dead wolf! You people are so ignorant! Live your sheltered uneducated lives, and leave us normal hardworking people to manage the wildlife we live and deal with everyday!
 
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yeah save all the wolves and coyotes cuz i hate to look at deer and elk! you people are nuts!!!
 
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YOUR A MORON. YOUR GRANDFATHER AND GREAT GRANDFATHER MORE THAN LIKLY HUNTED THESE SAME PREDATORS YOU SPEAK OF, STOP WORRING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLES BUSINESS AND GET A JOB YOU WORTHLESS BUM
 
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Shoot all the grey wolves. They are not native to the MT, ID or WY area. You do gooders really have no business in those states, why don’t they re introduce the wolves in central park in NY, see how see how that goes over. Go mind your own b usiness and live your lives and don’t tell us how to live ours!
 
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you guys seriously need a new hobby check out the number of predators in the united states. there is an estimated 50,000 coyotes within the city limits of L.A. predator hunters like myself are an important part of a healthy wildlife management system, maybe we should stop hunting coyotes, allowing them to over-run your neighborhood stealing a couple of your lap dogs out of your back yard and then maybe, you would understand, or maybe you would like a mountain lion to come down and drag one of your kids down the street while swinging on your swingset……the choice is yours but i think you guys should review on who is “degenerate mental patients”\
 
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Wolves are cold-blooded killers. Their numbers should be tightly controlled, if not eliminated, by any means necessary!  The wolf lovers are a small minority of most rational thinking citizens of this nation.  (apparently wolf lovers are the most rational people in the nation!!)

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Submitted on 2009/12/11 at 6:22pm 

Nabeki, it’s the weekend and that means wolf hunting, when folks find out you know how to call them in, your dance card is always full. I can’t tell you how much your comments have motivated me to fine tune my craft, thanks. weather has been cold, pelts ought to be awesome. Hopefully with my help we can fill the 220 quote and get that darn season closed. Just trying to do my part to help relieve some of the stress. Wish me luck.

 
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Submitted on 2009/12/10 at 12:46am
Nabeki, As I mentioned hacking into your site though easy enough kind of gives me the creeps, we’re thinking about starting our own site. Calling it/ Justice for All. Also have you thought any more about our wager. After the latest 2009 reports out on elk, I have a person who would like to double our bet giving you 2 for 1 odds. All we ask is that we can right them off as donations.. Come on Nabeki go out to the porch get some sun light and at least consider it.. I could actually send a fresh killed wolf hide and skull to your town, so you could actually say you’ve seen and touched one. Call me old fashioned but I have wolf meat you can try., color and texture similar to bear, but not as good. If your not interested it will end up as coyote bait, how ironic
 
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Kill one. Maybe You’ll understand…= ^)
Its fun!

I Hope the phantoms are smoked. Way to much lynne drama in ketchum.
 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 1:52 PM

I’m not sure what is in the Kool Aid that you all are drinking but you should really take a break!  Hundreds more elk and moose will make it through this year without being slaughtered by these indiscriminate killers.  Sure I have shot a few elk and eaten them all.  Please set that double cheeseburger down before you lay into me for that one.  If you love these wolves so much why don’t you invite them to to live in YOUR back yard with your house pets and see how misunderstood these poor animals really are?

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 2:41 PM
what a bunch of out of touch whackjobs.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 2:58 PM

I say shoot every wolf out there.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:41 PM

Congrats to the wolf hunters! Keep up the good work and get some more
 
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Thursday, November 26, 2009 8:06 PM
Have any more phantoms been killed?
Hoping to make wildlife services job easier to wipe out the rest of the “problem” black wolves!!!
going out to smoke one next weekend….
and maybe enter the sfw contest!!!!
Wish me luck
 
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Posted in : Wolf Wars

Tags: hate mail, irrational wolf hatred, wolf myths

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 3:12 am  Comments (63)  
Tags: , ,

Dispelling The Canadian Wolf Myth

Today, in honor of National Wolf Awareness Week, I’m reposting an article I wrote back in April of this year. It busts the oft-repeated myth that wolves reintroduced to the US in 95 from Canada, are a larger more aggressive wolf then previously roamed the Northern Rockies. It’s a common mantra spread by the anti-wolf crowd and is not grounded in fact. But hey why bother with pesky facts? They just get in the way of demonizing wolves.

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April 12, 2010

If I had a dollar every time I heard the derogatory term “Non-Native Canadian wolf”, I’d be rich.

The myth goes something like this. Wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and Central Idaho in 1995 were a larger, non-native, more aggressive wolf then the wolves who roamed the Northern Rockies before the Western extermination. This kind of thinking and rhetoric is what fuels wolf hatred in the first place. When nasty rumors and stories get started they develop legs. Pretty soon people are repeating it as if it’s fact. My advice would be to do a little research on the history of wolves and their morphology, instead of repeating rumors and innuendo. But this myth has nothing to do with the search for truth, it’s all about demonizing wolves. Please make it your business to shed light on these fairy tales. The wolves will thank you.

I wonder how many people who make these claims have ever seen a wild wolf? I’ve been lucky to view wild wolves. One of my Malamutes, who passed away several years ago, was bigger and weighed more than any wolf I’ve ever encountered. He was 180 lbs full-grown. He was so tall he could actually eat food right off the kitchen counter. But unlike the wolf his body was stockier. Wolves have long legs, big feet and large heads, their bodies are also longer than dogs. This gives them the appearance of being bigger then they actually are. Wolves in the Northern Rockies weigh on average between 80-110 lbs. Wolves also weigh more when their bellies are full. That’s because after a kill wolves gorge on a meal because they may not eat again for several days. It’s feast or famine for the wolf. Remember, only one in ten wolf hunts is successful. They expend a great deal of energy during the hunt and very often have nothing to show for it.

Did you know 31% of the wolves killed in Montana’s hunt were under a year of age (juveniles) and weighed an average of 62 lbs.  31% were yearlings and weighed about 80 lbs. 62% of wolves killed in Montana’s wolf hunt in 2009 were a year old or under a year of age, in other words, PUPPIES! Shocked? Only 38% of wolves killed in Montana’s hunt were adults, weighing an average 97 lbs. The largest wolf weighed 117 lbs. Again way smaller than my Malamute. The average weight of wolves killed in the Idaho hunt was under a 100 lbs.

There is strong evidence the two subspecies of wolves that roamed the Rocky Mountains north and south of the Canadian border, for tens of thousands of years,  Canis Lupus Occidentalis (The Mackenzie Valley wolf) and Canis Lupus Irremotus (Northern Rocky Mountain wolf) bred with each other and mixed their genes. Some believe the Mackenzie Valley wolves bred the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf out of existence, instead of the government eliminating them.

It’s a specious argument, not grounded in science, to state Canis Lupus Occidentalis is a non-native wolf from Canada that was foisted upon the Northern Rockies region. In fact wolves know no boundaries and regularly cross back and forth between Canada and the US. There is no doubt sub-species exchanged DNA, making it almost impossible to tell how much of one subspecies is contained in another.

The whole idea of numbers of wolf subspecies is debated in the scientific world, ranging from 24 to just 5. The one thing we do know is wolves from different subspecies mate and share their DNA. The truth is, wolves are wolves, with slight variations in height, weight or fur color.

Think how silly the notion is when you consider humans created the boundaries between Canada and the US. To wolves it’s all the same landscape. They do what wolves do, breed, form packs and when they’re old enough strike out on their own, looking for new territory and a mate. It’s really that simple. Wolf thy name is wanderlust.

Wolves have large territories and travel great distances to establish a place for themselves. Does anyone truly believe wolves didn’t freely cross borders before they were exterminated in the West? Invisible lines created by humans have no meaning for wolves. They go as they please, truly free yet horribly persecuted, never knowing why.

Wolves are great wanderers and can travel an average of 25 miles per day while hunting. One Scandinavian wolf, pursued by hunters, traveled 125 miles in 24 hours. Wolves have runners bodies, lean and sleek. David Mech, the wolf biologist once stated “Wolves are fed by their feet.” Covering ground, exploring, seeking new territory, is bound to the wolves’ soul.  One only has to read the tale of wolf 314f, just a year and a half old, who traveled from her home in Montana to a lonely hillside called No Name Ridge in Colorado, where she was found dead under suspicious circumstances. She logged a thousand miles on her GPS collar during her amazing journey. Wolves are great adventurers and travelers.

Do wolf haters think there is some imaginary line at the border between Canada and the US that wolves didn’t dare cross? How ridiculous is that?

Long before the reintroduction, wolves made their way back to the US in the 1970′s and 80′s, dispersing from Canada to Glacier National Park,  They formed the Camas, Wigwam and Magic packs and these packs were not small, some numbering from twenty to thirty wolves. Does this sound like an animal who’s afraid to cross an invisible line they’ve been navigating for thousands of years, long before Canada and the United States were even a thought?

It follows that sub-species of wolves will mix their genes and basically become a combination of both. The myth that wolves reintroduced from Canada are somehow enormous super wolves who never set foot on American soil before reintroduction, is ludicrous. If you don’t believe me listen to experts on the subject, who have worked with wolves for years and understand their morphology.

Carter Niermeyer Interview (Outdoor Idaho) Spring 2009 (Carter Niermeyer was the Idaho Wolf Recovery Coordinator for USFWS from 2000 to 2006)

Q.There are those who say we brought the wrong wolves into Idaho in 1995 and 1996, that they’re bigger wolves than the ones that were here.

CN: I have to support the science again, and specialists in morphology and genetics on wolves indicate that the wolf that was brought down from Canada is the same wolf that lived here previously. And I did some research into books on early wolves that were captured in the Northern Rockies, even as far south as Colorado during the days that wolves were being hunted down in the 1930s; and the body weights were very much the same.

So I feel that this wolf that was brought from Canada is the same species and genetics as the wolves that lived here once upon a time. I think people have to remember that the northern Rockies — we call it the northern Rockies in Idaho and Montana, but actually we’re a southern extension of the northern Rockies out of Canada — and all of those wolves in Canada have the potential and the ability to disperse. I believe what happened over the last 50-60 years is that individual wolves have come from Canada following the Rocky Mountain chain and ended up periodically in places like Montana and Idaho.

Or Mike Jimenez (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator)

Jimenez disputed claims that the wolves reintroduced from Canada in the mid-1990s are a larger, more aggressive breed than had historically lived in Wyoming.

While scientists once divided wolves into 24 subspecies, he said more recent DNA evidence shows five subspecies in North America. Further, given the fact that wolves tend to disburse hundreds of miles, he said wolves from Canada likely interbred with Wyoming wolves and vice versa before they were exterminated from the region.

“The idea that those Canadian wolves are different … the argument gets weak,” he said. “Where they transition from one subspecies to the next is totally up for grabs.”

People cling to anti-wolf myths because wolves have become scapegoats for anti-government feelings. Many anti-wolfers believe reintroducing wolves was forced on them even though bringing wolves home to the Northern Rockies was not a rogue scheme dreamed up by a few government biologists. It was supported by many Americans. In fact a poll taken in 1990 found two-thirds of Montanans supported bringing wolves back to the state. Even so, it was a huge battle that waged for decades because the same, small, vocal minority that opposes wolves today were against them then, IE: ranchers, hunters and outfitters.

The feds finally compromised and classified wolves as a non-essential experimental population, which meant they could be shot and killed for agribusiness.

The little known fact is Wildlife Services has been killing wolves for years, along with the wolf hunts in 2009/2010. Still without ESA protection wolves would NEVER have been able to make any kind of comeback. It’s been their saving grace and now sadly they are at the mercy of their enemies once again.

What’s behind the giant Canadian wolf myth that’s passed off as truth? I believe it’s fear of competition. Many hunters don’t want to share the woods or compete with wolves. They liked it when wolves were gone and elk were complacent, standing around all day, munching down aspen trees, never allowing them to get any taller than a few feet. Apparently hunters like lazy, slow elk, ones that are easier to kill.  Since the return of the wolf, elk are no longer complacent, their old nemesis is back and they know it.  I think Carter Niermeyer hit the nail on the head when he said:

“Hunters look at the wolf from many angles and perspectives, too, and I have to emphasize that I’m a hunter. Certainly wolves compete, but I don’t think they’re any excuse for not being a successful hunter. There’s tremendous numbers of game animals available to sportsman and with a little effort and sleuth, you still have great potential to collect a wild animal from hunting. I don’t know what the excuse was before wolves, but it has become the main excuse now for unsuccessful hunters. I mean, there are just so many other issues involved in why hunters are not successful, but the wolf is a lame excuse.”

It’s necessary to spread untruths about wolves to further the agenda of getting rid of them or make excuses for why a particular hunter wasn’t able to “get his elk” during hunting season. I’ve reported over and over that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted in the their Spring 2009 press release that elk numbers were up 44% nationally since 1984, when the organization was founded. They stated the elk herds in Montana, Colorado and Utah  increased between 50-70 percent.  The Montana’s elk population stood at 150,000 and Idaho at 105,000.  I guess that wasn’t good news to everyone, since it doesn’t fit in with the “wolf is decimating all the elk” argument. Hunters whine that elk numbers may be up in the state but down in some areas. Ummmmmm that’s how nature works. And I hate to break it to the elk hunters but it’s not all about them. Wolf advocates opinions are being ignored. We’ve had to watch in horror as wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List and hunted almost immediately.

This was unforgiveable behavior by the states and certainly didn’t earn any points with wolf supporters about their intent to “manage” wolves fairly.  It’s not a secret there’s a conflict of interest when it comes to state game agencies “managing/killing” predators.  They want to please their customers, the hunters, who demand more game. The saddest part of this story is wolves were brought back only to be used for target practice fifteen years later.

Carter  Niermeyer states:

It’s a little late now, but I wish that when the states assume management of wolves that there could have been some kind of a moratorium where the states took the responsibility and didn’t jump right into a wolf harvest, or a wolf culling, or whatever you want to call it. It would’ve been nice, I think, to establish some credibility with wolf advocates and conservationists, environmentalists and people who appreciate wolves for other values. And just sort of get a handle on things and get a feel for managing the wolf. Because there’s this perception that suddenly we’re going from a listed animal to a hunted animal and I think a lot of the public is having a struggle with coming along with that.

The other thing I wish could happen, too, is there’d be more dialogue between the broad term wolf advocates and the Fish and Game Department and talk about these issues more openly, because the conservation groups have been a close ally in getting wolf recovery moving forward and actually being partners, and now there seems to be this falling out and a relationship that’s deteriorating.

Wolf advocates are rightly upset to see wolves hunted at all, especially freshly off the Endangered Species List.

I wonder how hunters would feel if over 40% of the elk herd was killed in one season. What would they think of a seven month-long elk hunt like the state of Idaho imposed on wolves?

Are Canadians laughing at us when they hear the Canadian super-wolf myth? Does this mean Canadians are superior hunters, who seem to have no trouble bagging game with their Canadian monster wolves roaming the countryside?

The truth is wolves living in the Northern Rockies today are the same wolves that were here before they were exterminated. It’s not about how tall wolves are or how much they weigh or the color of their fur. This myth is grounded in hatred of a species just as it was when they were exterminated the first time around.

Hunters by their very nature are in the business of killing and not all hunters can shoot straight or are ethical. There are people who hunt out of their rigs, while drinking.  Gut shot deer roam the forest during hunting season, leaving blood trails until they finally collapse and die. I’ve seen deer with arrows sticking out of them, barely able to stand.

If anyone has seen Predator Derby pictures of bloody dead coyotes, or dead wolves displayed by their killers with no respect, smiling like they just won the lottery, understand it’s not the wolf that’s the deadliest predator. Wolves kill to survive. The cruelest predator of all is man. No giant wolf myth can compete with that.

HOWL for speaking the truth about wolves.

Pass it on!

“May we all never be judged by anything so harshly or hold to as strict a life or unremitting of borders as the ones we try to place on and around wolves”…Rick Bass 1992

Photo Courtesy Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Posted in: Wolf myths, gray wolf/canis lupus, Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf subspecies, wolf myths, wolves in the crossfire, wolf intolerance, demonizing wolves

The Wolf In Our Heads…Understanding Canis Lupus

Who is the wolf?  So much has been written about this magnificent animal yet do we really know the wolf?  We can recite facts about them. They mate for life, they’re smart, playful, their lives are structured around family. Wolves can knock off  fifteen to twenty-five miles in one clip without breaking a sweat, they can reach 40 miles an hour when chasing prey. Their wanderlust drives them to explore new places, to investigate, they are curious. Wolves love to move, they are perpetually in motion when awake.

Pack life is ordered, every wolf  has a place. Usually only the alpha pair (mothers and fathers) will breed but not always.  The famed Hog Heaven Pack, who was slaughtered by Wildlife Services in 2008, had twenty-seven members and TWO breeding females.  The year they were killed they produced 15 pups, all gunned down with the rest of the pack, in that grim November.

The idea that wolves fight for top dog position in the pack  has been disputed by wolf researchers.The term alpha is actually considered outdated in the wolf research community.

“Rather than viewing a wolf pack as a group of animals organized with a “top dog”that fought its way to the top, or a male-female pair of such aggressive wolves, science has come to understand that most wolf packs are merely family groups formed exactly the same way as human families are formed. That is, maturing male and female wolves from different packs disperse, travel around until they find each other and an area vacant of other wolves but with adequate prey, court, mate, and produce their own litter of pups.”

Basically a wolf pair mates, has puppies and the adults then become the natural leaders because pups follow their parents authority. The pack eventually becomes a large extended family.  Of course there are exceptions to this, as with everything pertaining to wolves. They are not easily defined.

So how did the wolf become vilified? It all starts with the images and stories we’re exposed to as kids. Many children grow up to fear wolves because the wolf is often demonized in fairy tales. We’re all familiar with those stories. Little Red Riding Hood, on her way to grandma’s house, must walk through the woods where the Big, Bad Wolf  lurks.

A girl has been given red cap (or cloak and hood) to wear. Her mother sends her to take food to her sick grandmother. The mother tells her she must not stop on the way.  A wolf sees the girl walking through the woods and makes a plan to eat her. The wolf politely asks the girl where she is going. The girl answers him, because he seems friendly. The wolf tells the girl to pick some flowers for her grandmother. While she is picking flowers, the wolf goes to grandmother’s house and eats her. He puts on the grandmother’s night-cap and gets into her bed. When the girl goes into grandmother’s house the wolf eats the girl too. A woodcutter comes and cuts opens the wolf’s body. He saves the grandmother and the girl who are still alive. Then, stones are put in the wolf’s body to kill the wolf.

The Three Little Pigs portray the wolf as evil. The pigs are characterized as industrious, just minding their own business, when along comes the Big, Bad Wolf who wants to blow their houses down and eat them.

The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats the first little pig. The second pig builds a house of sticks, but with the same ultimate result. Each exchange between wolf and pig features ringing proverbial phrases, namely:

“Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
“Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!”

The third pig builds a house of hard bricks. The wolf cannot huff and puff hard enough to blow the house down. He attempts to trick the little pig out of the house, but the pig outsmarts him at every turn. Finally, the wolf resolves to come down the chimney, whereupon the pig boils a pot of water into which the wolf plunges, at which point the pig quickly covers the pot and cooks the wolf for supper.

And of course we can’t forget the werewolf.  This may be the most damaging image of all because it permeates our culture with movie after movie depicting vicious, ravenous creatures, turning from man to wolf.

People are fascinated yet repelled by the idea of  half wolf /half human creatures. Once again the wolf is portrayed as dangerous, something to be feared.

The werewolf is a mythical creature that appears in European culture as far back as the times of the ancient Greeks. The culprit was believed to transform into a wolf or a ‘wolf-man’, an affliction either brought about by a curse or through the use of magic.

Ancient cultures across the world ascribed shape shifting abilities to the most dangerous animals they came in contact with; in Africa it was the lion, in India it was the snake and tiger and in Europe it was the white wolf, suggesting that the myth might have come about from mans need to invent stories.

The truth is the wolf is not bad or evil.  They are apex predators struggling  to survive in an ever hostile world, trying to eek out a living and care for their families. That’s it.

For the wolf it’s all about familia. They are the ultimate role models on great parenting. Pack structure is held together by the intense loyalty they feel toward each other. Admirable traits in any species.

Why don’t we read more about wolves’ wonderful altruistic qualities in the media? Because most are too busy reporting the “party line” from fish and game agencies.

Wolves once  prospered in all parts of the world.

As Barry Lopez states in “Of Wolves and Men”:

“The wolf once roamed most of the Northern Hemisphere above thirty degrees north latitude.  They were found in Eastern Europe, The Balkans, the near Middle East into Arabia, Afghanistan,  Northern India, throughout Russia north into Siberia, China and Japan.

He goes on:  “In North America the wolf reached a southern limit north of Mexico City and ranged north as far as Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland, less than four hundred miles from the North Pole.  Outside of  Iceland and North Africa, and such places as the Gobi Desert.  Wolves had adapted to virtually every habitat available to them.”

Historic US  Gray Wolf Range. Map: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“Native Americans were awed by the power and stealth of the wolf, while European settlers — who brought over their folk tales of the “big bad wolf” — feared the animal. This fear, combined with the belief that wolves caused widespread livestock losses, led to their near extinction in the lower 48 states in the early half of the 20th century.”

Wolves were hated by the first Europeans that landed on this continent and they brought their wolf exterminating ways with them.  Europe had been sanitized of most of their wolves to clear the land for ranching and farming. They carried their wolf prejudice to America and within four hundred years wolves were extirpated from the lower forty-eight. An epic tragedy.

The impetus that started the wolf carnage in America was the early European settler’s slaughter of bison and other ungulates.  They literally killed everything with four hooves from bison to moose, deer and elk. They robbed wolves of their prey base.

As Rick Bass states in The Ninemile Wolves, “In the absence of bison, there was the bison’s replacement: cattle. The wolves preyed upon these new intruders, without question but the ranchers and the government overreacted just a tad.  Until very recently, the score stood at Cows, 99,200,000; Wolves, O.

Of the men that took part in the pogrom, what can we say of them? What wolves were dwelling in their heads while they poisoned, shot, set wolves on fire, fed them ground glass and other tortures too gruesome to mention? What were they thinking of the wolf as they laid their strychnine laden meat trap-lines?  What was their image of the wolf?  A pest, a bounty to be collected, did they feel anything about this animal that had done them no harm?  We can never know but we can guess.

Today there are pockets of wolves scattered throughout Europe. Russia still has wolves, although they have virtually no protection and can be shot on sight.  The largest population of wolves reside in Alaska and Canada.  Of the twenty-three subspecies that existed, seven are now extinct.

Mankind did a very good job of decimating wolf populations. But in the 1980′s a few wolves returned to their western habitat in Glacier National Park, long before their official reintroduction to Yellowstone  and Central Idaho in 1995.  Wolves today inhabit a tiny fraction of their historic range and are still fighting the same persecution they faced a hundred years ago.

The image of the wolf has taken on almost mythical proportions. Does anyone truly see the wolf  for who it really is?  For a few they are evil, hunting machines and possess no redeeming qualities. I receive comments  from angry people who rail against wolves and how they kill their prey, as if there’s a polite way for predators to kill. Wolves are held to a different standard. No predator kills nicely, not African lions, not grizzly bears, not Great White sharks, not mountain lions, and definitely NOT HUMANS.  I don’t know of a single case of wolves shooting their prey from helicopters with twelve gauge shotguns, or using leghold traps. That kind of killing is the domain of the deadliest predator on earth, man!

Wolves kill to survive.  They were put on this earth to keep ungulate herds healthy.

Every time wolves hunt they risk broken ribs or cracked skulls by a well placed kick. Wolves’ lives are hard. Yet they are demonized for being predators. What about the gut shot deer wandering the forests during hunting season, leaving blood trails? Take a trip through the thousands of YouTube videos that depict disgusting canned hunts or document the glee with which some hunters display brutal killing methods of our wildlife. Who’s responsible for the torture of  animals in factory farms, it’s not the wolf?

It all goes back to the image one has of the wolf.  If people grow up believing the myths and half-truths about wolves, they’ll carry those biases into adulthood.  I believe those who hate wolves have projected their fears about themselves onto the wolf.

“Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.” -Barry Lopez

For most the wolf is an icon of freedom and beauty, a symbol of untamed wildness.  As Barry Lopez described them so beautifully in Of Wolves and Men.

The wolves will “travel together ten or twenty miles a day,  through the country where they live, eating and sleeping, birthing, playing with sticks, chasing ravens, growing old, barking at bears, scent marking trails, killing moose and staring at the way water in a creek breaks around their legs and flows on.”

That’s the wolf in my head. Who’s the wolf in yours?

=========

Coastal British Columbia wolves love salmon!

There’s always something new to learn about wolves!


Repost: Original posting February 26,2010

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cartoon: A Puritan Thanksgiving….Dan Beard

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, howling for justice, biodiversity

Tags: wolf enigma, canis lupus, wolf myths, fairy tales, little red riding hood, family

Utah Senator to Wolves….Do Not Enter Utah On Pain of Death (Alert Take Action)

Utah Senator Allen Christensen has introduced a bill, SB 36, that would allow any and all gray wolves that have the audacity to enter Utah’s borders, to be captured and removed or killed.  That’s right. He thinks wolves are not compatible with humans. Could a human being be more intolerant?  Does he realize how ridiculous this sounds?  Wolves don’t read signs, they don’t understand boundaries. Just when I thought wolf hysteria couldn’t get any worse, it does.

Even though this bill would likely be unconstitutional if passed, because federal law trumps state law, Christensen states they would fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.  

Sportsmen For Fish and Wildlife and the Cattlemen’s Association’s Utah chapter are supporters of the bill.  Big surprise. Apparently the “Sportsmen” and I use that term lightly, will bankroll the court battle, if the bill passes. Here’s a quote from The Salt Lake Tribune, showing the absolute arrogance of this man and the organizations that support this disgusting  bill.

“Wolves are out of control, says Utah Sen. Allen Christensen, and the state’s policy should be to kill them. Heck, he did. Went to Canada to bag one. It’s at the taxidermist.

And besides, Christensen says, passing a bill to declare Utah’s policy to destroy or remove all wolves is a simple case of states’ rights.

The North Ogden Republican’s goal is spelled out in SB36, which has caught the attention of legislative attorneys who attached a rare warning that the bill, if passed, probably would be found unconstitutional.

“Will it be a fight? Absolutely,” Christensen concedes. “We have enough money to take it all the way to the [U.S.] Supreme Court.”

The Utah chapters of the Cattlemen’s Association and Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife support the bill. The Sportsmen will contribute to litigation costs, says Byron Bateman, president of the Utah chapter.

“We’ve been in the fight from the get-go,” Bateman said, “and we’ll be in it to the end.”

SB36 is for people who enjoy wildlife, Christensen says, adding he knows wolves are wildlife, too. But they were exterminated in this region in the 19th century “for good reason,” he says. “They were simply not compatible with humans anymore.”

I have news for the Senator. Wolves are protected under ESA (Endangered Species Act) in much of Utah and it would be a federal crime to kill a wolf. 

An area in Utah east of Interstate 84 and Interstate 15 and north of I-80 is in the northern Rocky Mountain gray-wolf recovery area. This is the only area now where the state has any kind of management jurisdiction. Wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act in the rest of Utah.

Anyone who kills a wolf without proper cause in most of Utah still could land in big trouble — to the tune of a $100,000 fine, a year in prison and loss of the gun that killed the beast and the truck the hunter rode in.

BUT, this awful bill, if passed, would supersede Utah’s wolf plan, which is almost as bad as the bill, allowing only two breeding pairs to produce two pups for two consecutive years.  Is Utah enamored with the number two?  What the heck kind of wolf plan is that? 

If this “legislation” passes I will never even fly into the Salt Lake airport again, let alone vacation or buy anything that is remotely connected to the state.

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

Here is an Alert from Ralph Maughin’s website, with information about this deplorable bill and what you can do.

Alert on Utah wolves

January 28, 2010 — Ralph Maughan

What you can do if you oppose Utah state senator Allen Christensen wolf killing bill-

Wolves urgently need your help.  Please send the following alert to as many people as you can.  Use your organization’s email list if you can!  Do it right away, then act on it yourself!

The organization Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife has a bill before the Utah legislature that would require the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to prevent wolf packs from becoming established in the Utah portion of the Rocky Mountain gray wolf recovery area.  This part of the recovery area is where dispersing wolves from the Yellowstone country have been entering Utah, some of them traveling on to Colorado.  If this bill passes, any wolves entering Utah in this area will be subject to capture and return or death.

This egregious bill, identified as S.B. 36 first substitute, would supplant the Utah Wolf Management Plan – a plan which would at least tolerate up to two breeding pairs producing at least two surviving offspring for two consecutive years.  I know, this plan is really lame, but it is better than what the bill would require.  Furthermore, it was created through a public process that began with and ended with the Utah legislature – a process that involved 13 representatives of a diverse group of stakeholders, including ranchers and sportsmen, working for a year and a half.  Even then, the ranching and hunting interests on the working group violated the mutually agreed-upon protocols in order to ensure that the resulting plan is really weak.  Not satisfied with that, now they want to lord over the rest of us to ensure that there are never any wild wolves in Utah.  At bottom this is a moral issue: We must stand up for wolves and wild nature and for ourselves.  Here’s what you can do, but please do it quickly as this bill is on a fast track – do it NOW if you can: 

If you are a Utah resident, go to the following web-site and click on ‘Senate’ and ‘House’ to find your senator and your representative, then contact each and let him or her know in no ambiguous terms that you want this bill to fail.  This will be particularly important for those of you who live in the Republican-dominated rural parts of the state: http://www.le.state.ut.us/

If you live outside Utah and you want to exert influence on this, you might contact the Utah Office of Tourism and express your displeasure over this bill and tell them that, if it passes, it will make you less interested in vacationing and recreating in Utah: http://travel.utah.gov/contactus.html
 

If you would like to be added to the Utah Wolf Forum list serve to receive periodic updates on this and other wolf-related issues, contact lynx@xmission.com and state your request.  It is our policy that you also briefly state your reason.

Sincerely,
Kirk Robinson, PhD, Director of Western Wildlife Conservancy
Allison Jones, M.S., Conservation biologist with Wild Utah Project

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

Please take action and stop the persecution of wolves!!  They have no voice, they need ours!!

For the wolves, For the wild ones,

Nabeki

Posted in: Wolf Wars, graywolf/canis lupus, howling for justice

Tags: Utah wolf killing bill, wolves in the crossfire, wolf intolerance, wolf myths

 

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