Montana May Increase Wolf Quota in Backcountry

hiding from man

Here we go. First Montana closed backcountry WMU 3 today because of the quick loss of nine wolves in that unit since hunting season opened on Sept 15, including an entire Yellowstone wolf pack. They stated they didn’t want to kill wilderness wolves and were surprised backcountry wolves had been so vulnerable to harvesting (I hate the euphemisms they use for killing) Eleven wolves in total have been killed in Montana.

Now Montana FWP is stating they may want to increase the quota of wolves that can be killed in the WMU-3 backcountry area. I thought the reason they closed the area in the first place today was to reflect on how fast the so called “good wolves” in the back country were lost to hunter’s bullets? Now they want to increase the quota in Unit 3 so more backcountry wolves can die? Huh??

Here is the link to Montana’s FWP Wolf Hunting Districts:
http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/planahunt/wolfStatus.html

“The commission plans to hold a conference call – open to the public – on Tuesday to discuss whether to increase the quota in that wolf management unit, known as WMU 3. To do that, the commission would have to lower the quotas in one or both of the other WMUs to keep the total statewide quota at 75 wolves.”

This makes no sense to me at all. But make no mistake, livestock interests are behind this entire hunt, which is backed up by this statement:

“… We don’t want to kill the wilderness wolves and the wolves that don’t need some education, we want to go after) those on the ranch land,” Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Ron Moody said on Thursday. “I want to ensure sufficient opportunity to be available during the general season.”

Was there ever any doubt what these hunts are all about? Wolf advocates we need to work even more diligently to remove livestock off our public lands!!! The continuation of ranchers using the states and feds as their personal wolf policing agency has got to stop, period!

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

Wolf hunt temporarily suspended near Yellowstone

By EVE BYRON
Independent Record | Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 12:45 pm | (3) Comments

The backcountry wolf hunt in Montana just north of Yellowstone National Park will be halted half an hour past sunset Friday by order of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Even though the quota of 12 wolves in that hunting unit hasn’t been met, nine have been harvested so far, and state officials fear the quota will be filled by the time the general hunting season starts on Oct. 25. That would mean hunters would only take wolves from the backcountry, instead of near ranches where they might have been preying on livestock.

“… We don’t want to kill the wilderness wolves and the wolves that don’t need some education, (we want to go after) those on the ranch land,” Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Ron Moody said on Thursday. “I want to ensure sufficient opportunity to be available during the general season.”

FWP will reopen the backcountry area to wolf hunting when the general big game rifle season begins on Oct. 25.

The commission plans to hold a conference call – open to the public – on Tuesday to discuss whether to increase the quota in that wolf management unit, known as WMU 3. To do that, the commission would have to lower the quotas in one or both of the other WMUs to keep the total statewide quota at 75 wolves.

Posted in State-and-regional on Thursday, October 8, 2009 12:45 pm Updated: 4:25 pm. | Tags: Wolves, Yellowstone

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/state-and-regional/article_35ece37e-b43c-11de-8e75-001cc4c03286.html?mode=story

Categories posted in: Montana wolf hunt, wolf wars

Tags: montana wolf hunt, wolves in the crossfire

Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm  Comments (10)  
Tags: ,

Montana Ends Wolf Hunts Outside of Yellowstone (For Now)

It’s about time but not soon enough to save the famous Yellowstone Cottonwood wolf pack, who were recently wiped out by hunter’s bullets. I posted an article yesterday about the uniqueness of Yellowstone’s wolves yet Montana decided to conduct their hunting experiment right at the door of the park. Montana should be ashamed that because of poor planning an entire wolf pack was eliminated, one who has been the focus of research within the park for years. This was a disaster waiting to happen, wolves know no boundaries, so unfortunately for this pack, they stepped outside the park long enough to be shot and killed. They died for nothing.

I had hopes Montana’s FWP would keep the backcountry closed or create a buffer zone for wolves around Yellowstone but apparently they’re planning on re-opening WSU3 on Oct. 25. They issued this statement on their website concerning Unit 3, which also encompasses the area around Yellowstone:

The unit will close to the hunting of wolves one half hour past sunset, October 9, 2009. WMU-3 may reopen to the hunting of wolves on October 25, 2009.

We are the third largest state in the lower forty eight, yet we can’t accommodate and recover 500 wolves?We think by killing 75 of them in a misconceived hunt that will somehow help wolf recovery? The hunts are a blow to wolf recovery but at least Montana has closed off Unit 3 for now. I strongly urge them to keep the area closed for the remainder of the hunt and to close all backcountry or better yet stop the hunts entirely and then we can enjoy the rest of the winter.
=============================================

Montana Suspends Wolf Hunt Outside Yellowstone National Park

Matt Skoglund
Wildlife Advocate, Livingston, Montana
Blog | AboutPosted October 8, 2009 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

backcountry wolf

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks suspended the backcountry wolf hunt just north of Yellowstone National Park today.

That’s great news. The famous wolves of Yellowstone can let loose a big howl of relief.

I wrote about the ridiculousness of that backcountry hunt yesterday, and the Los Angeles Times wrote a piece about my blog entry today.

The timing of the hunt makes no sense. Nor does the lack of a no-hunt buffer zone outside Yellowstone to protect the Park’s legendary wolves that freely roam in and out of Yellowstone (and can’t read maps).

Montana has temporarily suspended the backcountry hunt until hunting in the front country begins on October 25th. Hopefully Montana will add additional restrictions before October 25th to protect both Yellowstone’s wolves and the wolves that live in backcountry wilderness areas in other parts of the state (as well as the wolves in and around Glacier National Park).

It’s frustrating that these premature wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana are proceeding at all. And it’s incredibly frustrating that several wilderness wolves and multiple Yellowstone wolves have already been killed — and that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says it didn’t see this coming. But it’s encouraging to see Montana respond by suspending the hunt outside Yellowstone.

Killing wolves in backcountry wilderness areas is bad wildlife management. FWP Commissioner Ron Moody said today that “[w]e don’t want to kill the wilderness wolves.”

If so, Montana should suspend the other backcountry hunts that are still ongoing and make the suspensions permanent.

Or, even better, Montana could scrap this hunt altogether until wolves in the Northern Rockies have fully recovered . . .

Either way, Montana can do a better job managing its state’s wolves, and it appears it knows it.

(Wolf photo by SigmaEye on Flickr)

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mskoglund/montana_suspends_wolf_hunt_out.html

Categories posted in: Montana wolf hunt, Yellowstone wolves

Tags: Yellowstone wolves, gray wolf

Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 10:57 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Yellowstone Wolves Unique

Wolves_A_Legend_Returns_To_Yellowstone

Yellowstone’s wolves are unique because they’re protected within the park’s vast boundaries. If Yellowstone’s wolves stay in the park, they can live most of their lives unmolested by people, which has allowed researchers to study them in as close to a natural environment as possible. What they found is Yellowstone’s wolf packs have increased numbers of older, more experienced male wolves, who help take down elk and even larger prey like moose and bison. They state that packs with at least one large male are overall healthier and more successful. In the rest of the Northern Rockies, wolves suffer high mortality rates because of human related conflicts.

Yellowstone’s packs are what healthy wolf packs should look like. They are the model of good wolf management in contrast to the wolf management going on in the rest of the Northern Rockies, which is driven by intolerance.

The anti-wolf crowd finally got their chance to hunt wolves and because of that wolf packs will lose many of their adults, pushing the age of pack members downward, resulting in younger wolves with less hunting experience, increasing livestock conflicts and more wolf deaths. Yellowstone’s lessons are falling on deaf ears.

The park’s researchers have noted declining wolf numbers in the northern areas of Yellowstone, due to several factors but the researchers believe this decline may be permanent or wolves in this area could take over a decade to recover.

Yellowstone, for all it’s vastness, is still only an island. If wolves leave the park, they do so at great peril to their lives. Recently, Yellowstone wolves who had wandered into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, which is part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem but outside park boundaries, were shot and killed

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

 

 

 

 

 

Packs with older, more experienced hunters rare among North American wolves

Yellowstone wolf packs differ from others

RUFFIN PREVOST – The Billings Gazette | Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 12:00 am | 1 Comment

CODY — Ongoing research on wolves in Yellowstone National Park continues to yield new information about how the animals hunt, and how their pack dynamics differ from those of packs in the rest of North America.

“How wolves function in this tri-state area is very different from how they function in the far north of Canada,” said Doug Smith, the biologist in charge of the Yellowstone Wolf Project.

Smith spoke late last week to a capacity crowd at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, presenting highlights of findings included in the project’s 2008 annual report.

Northern Canada has about 55,000 wolves and Alaska has about 10,000, so regional populations there are easily replenished by dispersing packs from elsewhere, despite heavy hunting in particular areas, he said.

“In the north, you have an ocean of wolves. The whole area is one big wolf population” surrounded by isolated pockets of people, Smith said.

“What we have here is an ocean of humanity with a couple of small areas of wolf survival, so it’s a reverse dynamic,” he said, adding that it is important to understand the difference. Scientists have largely modeled projections about Yellowstone wolf populations on lessons learned from wolves in the north.

But Yellowstone is special because wolves inside the park are virtually free of mortality from human causes, while 80 percent of wolves across the rest of North America are killed through hunting or by other human measures.

Consequently, there tend to be greater numbers of older wolves in Yellowstone packs, making for more experienced hunters than in nearby packs outside the park, he said.

“Yearlings have the highest rates of participation but the lowest success” in hunts, he said.

Biologists are learning more about the roles in hunting of different wolves within a pack’s social structure.

“Females, with their sleek, slim, fast body types, are typically out front, picking out which elk to attack, along with the younger males,” he said.

“The female will grab the elk, and at the end of the hunt, the big male catches up. These big males are important in the takedown. They are the best killers in the pack. But they’re not at the forefront of the hunt,” Smith said.

Researchers have found that packs with at least one large male tend to do much better in hunting elk than packs with none. Multiple large males are important for packs hunting bison or moose.

Wolves also tend to fare better in hunting elk during severe winters and in deeper snow, when their prey is weaker and has greater difficulty escaping, he said.

Smith said that fall “is the hardest time of the year to be a wolf,” because elk are well-fed and in good shape, making them harder to catch.

Last year was a tough year for Yellowstone’s wolves for a number of reasons, including disease, with distemper believed to have taken a heavy toll on pups.

Every one of the 25 new pups in the Leopold pack died, and the pack’s alpha male was killed by a wolf in a neighboring pack. The result was the end of the pack.

“The Leopold pack completely crumbled after 12 years,” he said.

A 40 percent drop last year in wolves in the northern part of the park was due to a number of reasons, including disease, inter-pack killings, some food shortages and a high density of wolves and other carnivores there, Smith said.

“We have probably hit a high point for wolves in that northern range already. I think, long term, we have begun to decline,” he said, adding that it may take a decade or longer for wolf and elk numbers in the area to stabilize.

“In the long term, I would expect half as many wolves on the northern range as we have now,” Smith said.

http://www.trib.com/news/state-and-regional/article_b5344874-bedb-5a34-94a5-05a0b10b8d4e.html

Categories posted in: Yellowstone wolves, biodiversity

Tags: Yellowstone Wolves

Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 2:01 am  Comments Off on Yellowstone Wolves Unique  
Tags:
%d bloggers like this: