I’m Weary!

I haven’t posted in several days and some of you may wonder why? It’s not that I’ve given up or am less interested in justice for gray wolves.  It’s because fighting the relentless persecution of wolves is tiring. I’ve written thousands and thousands of words about the gray wolves’ plight;  many, many nights not turning off the lights until the sun had started to rise on a new day. But that’s what being a passionate wolf advocate is all about.  I do it because I care.

Let’s take a look back at some of the things, not all, that have happened to wolves and wolf advocates in the last 26 months.

In the Spring of 2009 the Obama administration unceremoniously kicked wolves off the endangered species list Just mere months after that fateful decision, wolves were being hunted in Montana and Idaho.  Has that EVER happened to a newly delisted species?? EVER?? Then to make matters worse, Montana opens its hunt right outside the borders of Yellowstone National Park, which decimated the park’s iconic and studied Cottonwood Pack. Hunters were waiting near park borders for wolves to cross over. Those wolves were sitting ducks, not as wary of people as they should have been because they’d been habituated by the presence of millions of visitors that frequent the park each year. If that wasn’t bad enough, three wolves were poached in Montana during the hunt and not added to the 75 wolf quota. And of course Wildlife Services was busy killing wolves in Montana  as well.

Other crazy things were going on during the hunts of 2009. Like this. And this.  And this.

Meanwhile, even though the Idaho wolf hunt was supposed to end on December 31, 2009, the commissioners decided to extend it all the way to March 31, 2o1o, right through wolf breeding and denning season. That’s a seven month-long hunt.  Who cares if pregnant or lactating females die along with their pups? Apparently not anybody at fish and game. But then we all knew that didn’t we? That’s why wolf advocates have been shouting so loudly. Don’t turn wolves over to these people, they want to kill them!!!

Environmentalists fought back with a lawsuit, filed in the fall of 2009, challenging the delsting of wolves in the Northern Rockies.  It took almost a year to settle but in August of 2010, Judge Molloy placed wolves back under the protection of the ESA. That’s when the real fun began.  The anti-wolf crowd was losing in court so they decided to switch tactics. They teamed up with Western politicians, itching to score points with hunters and ranchers on the   “wolf issue”.  So the 111th Congress got involved. I can’t even count the number of anti-wolf bills that were introduced.  But because it was late in the Congressional year, none of the bills went anywhere. A little back room dealing was reported. Apparently there was an effort to delist wolves by appropriation rider but it fell flat.

Meanwhile Wildlife Services continued it’s relentless war on wolves.

Wolf advocates were EXHAUSTED, the delisting, the relisting, the poaching, the hunts, the lies, the demonization of wolves and on and on. And more Wildlife Services ugliness against wolves.

It wasn’t long before Congress reconvened and the 112th picked up the persecution of wolves where the 111th Congress left off. Anti-wolf bills were piling up again. Then it got sinister. The Democrats and Republicans were engaged in a budget war.  The sneaky wolf delsting rider started in the House of Representatives when Rep. Simpson (ID-R) introduced it into a must-pass- budget-bill.  The bill passed the House and traveled to the Senate.  Senator Tester (MT-D) convinced the Democrat leadership in the Senate to once again slip the wolf delisting rider into the budget bill.  Sen Tester was  locked in a tough campaign for his Senate seat against Denny Rehberg (R-MT), who also wanted wolves delisted. Basically they were trying to “out wolf” each other.

We all know how the story ended.  81 senators voted for the budget bill with the wolf delisting rider tucked safely inside.  It passed overwhelmingly, only three Democrats voted against it.

Shockingly the Democrat Party betrayed wolves, just threw them under the bus. They did it in hopes of helping Senator Tester keep his Senate seat in the 2012 election and therefore secure their shaky Senate majority.  Because of that treachery wolves and the ESA suffered together. Aside from the Senate’s actions being wholly wrong and disgraceful, they  opened the door for other endangered species, who may inconveniently get in the way of someone’s agenda, to suffer the same fate. Who will be next? Grizzlies? Salmon?

Where do we stand now? Well Idaho is planning a no-quota wolf hunt in most of their state for 2011. They want to use baiting, calling, trapping, snares, archery and of course guns on those hapless wolves. Montana raised their wolf quota to 220 for the 2o11 hunt, with archery on the table as well. Of course WS continues to kill wolves the way they have been doing. If the hunts go forward, the pups of this year will only be 4 to 5 months old. They will die along with their parents either by starvation or outright killing.

There is a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the wolf delisting rider. It was brought by Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and then joined by WildEarth Guardians.  The Center for Biological Diversity also filed suit and was joined by Western Watersheds Project.  At the end of this month Judge Molloy will hold  hearings on this litigation.  We can only hope he reverses this horrific delisting-budget-rider by finding  it unconstitutional.

And Wildlife Services is still busy killing wolves.

I’m weary.

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Photo: Courtesy Eric Begin Flickr Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf persecution, never ending story, wolf advocate, battle weary, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves, US Senate, wolf delisting rider, Judge Molloy

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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: , , , , ,

Graphic Photo: This Is What They’re Doing To Wolves

What’s left of wolf B341.

I’m sorry to show you this photo but this is what they’re doing to wolves.  This is the ugly face of the wolf hunts. These are the mangled bones of a wolf, once beautiful, once breathing and alive, now left like garbage to rot, killed for no reason except the enjoyment of killing a magnificent animal.

This is the story of wolf B341, whose bones are pictured above:

September 1, 2009 in Central Idaho:

A beautiful three-year old wolf from Idaho’s Archery Mountain Pack, is walking through a meadow and sniffs the smell of cooked meat. The wolf comes toward a hunter’s camp where there is a barbecue (hibachi) setting on a stump next to a horse. The hunter tears out of tent, fumbles for his rifle and shoots the wolf, which has moved 100 yards away. The man, Jay Mize of Emmett, Idaho, posts a video on the internet and claims the “wulf was tryin’ to eat muh hoss”. Mize shows the dead wolf stuffed into the cargo basket of his ATV. Mize then proceeded to skin, behead and take B341 home as a “trophy” – the second wolf to be killed in Idaho’s infamous hunt. Mize was interviewed by the Idaho Statesman and his story appeared in an article written by Rocky Barker.

Trees where horse was tied and stump that hibachi was setting on.

 


The wolf was shot here, some 100 yards from the hunter’s tent. He used his ATV to haul the wolf back to camp.

 

A startled hiker finds B341’s carcass in the woods.

 


What’s left of wolf B341.



I said a prayer for wolf B341 and the over 500 wolves killed  in 2009.  Wolves are still dying!! Please share this story with everyone you know!!

How many more wolves have to be slaughtered to satisfy this blood lust?  We must have our voices heard!!  Please scroll down for contact information, write and express your outrage!!  Stand up for wolves!!

LIVE BY THESE WORDS!!

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

PHOTOS COPYRIGHT 2009 Idaho Wildwolf Images

Contacts:

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Department of the Interior: Secretary Ken Salazar

202-208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

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Write to Carolyn Sime:

Carolyn Sime, Helena
Montana Statewide Wolf Coordinator
(406) 444-3242 (work)
(406) 461-0587 (cell)

Write to Idaho Fish and Game:

Idaho Fish and Game…click here

Jim Lukens 1-208-756-2271 IDFG Salmon Region Supervisor in Central Idaho

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Governor Butch Otter:

208.334.2100
http://gov.idaho.gov/WebRespond/contact_form.html

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Write or call the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners:

http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/commission/members.cfm 

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Write or call Idaho Fish and Game:

Headquarters Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707

Headquarters Street / Walk-in Address:

600 S. Walnut
Boise, ID 83712

Telephone: (208) 334-3700
Fax: (208) 334-2148 / (208) 334-2114

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Write the Idaho tourism office:

http://www.visitidaho.org/contact/

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Write the Potato Commission:

http://contact.idahopotato.com/

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Write to Idaho Newspapers:

Post-Register, Idaho Falls           

www.postregister.com

Letters over the 300 word limit will be subject to editing. 
Send letters by e-mail to taulcore@postregister.com
(Note: This is the abbreviated name of the person who handles letters)

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Idaho State Journal

Pocatello and SE Idaho        

305 S. Arthur, Pocatello ID  83204

Press Release E-mail: pressrelease@journalnet.com
Letters to the Editor E-mail: letters@journalnet.com 

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The Times-News       

http://www.magicvalley.com

Box 548, Twin Falls ID  83303

Phone: 733-0931
Limit letters to 400 words. Longer letters will be shortened. The Times-News reserves the right to edit all letters. 

E-mail  letters@magicvalley.com

READER’s CORNER – 600 words – has to be approved by editorial dept. * Each letter should include the writer’s signature, mailing address and telephone number. Typewritten letters are preferred, because they allow faster handling with less chance of error.
=========

Idaho Statesman

1200 N. Curtis Road Boise, Idaho 83706

Editorial@idahostatesman.com
MAILING: Rocky Barker, Environment; Pete Zimowski (?) outdoor editor P.O. Box 40 Boise, ID 83707

News (main office)  (208) 377-6449 FAX 208/377-6449

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Write or Call Montana Governor Brian D. Schweitzer:

Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529

Send comments:

http://governor.mt.gov/contact/commentsform.asp

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MONTANA NEWSPAPERS

Billings Gazette

Phone: (406) 657-1200

Toll Free: 1-800-543-2505

Postal Mail: P.O. Box 36300,

Billings, MT 59107-6300

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BOZEMAN DAILY CHRONICLE

(406) 587-4491

2820 W College St

Bozeman, MT

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The Daily InterLake

727 East Idaho, PO 7610-59904,

Kalispell MT, 59901

Tel:406-755-7000

FAX:406-752-6114

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MISSOULIAN

PO Box 8029
Missoula, MT 59807
Newsroom: newsdesk@missoulian.com
Phone: (406) 523-5240
Toll free: 1-800-366-7186
Fax: (406) 523-5294

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Bozeman Daily Chronicle

bozemandailychronicle.com

newsdesk@missoulian.com
Phone: (406) 523-5240
Toll free: 1-800-366-7186
Fax: (406) 523-5294

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Independant Record

HelenaIR.com

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 4249
Helena, MT 59604

Newsroom:

irstaff@helenair.com

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Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolf hunt, Idaho wolf hunt, wolf

Tags: wolves in the crossfire, dead wolf, Montana wolf hunt, Idaho wolf hunt, wolf hatred

For The Fallen 500….You Are Not Forgotten

Over 500 hundred wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and the killing continues. Hunted, persecuted, eliminated for livestock, we who love you won’t forget you and will continue to fight for the rights of your brothers that remain

For The Wolves, For The Wild Ones,

Nabeki

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yellowstone Wolves Declining

Bad news from Yellowstone National Park.  Gray wolves are declining.  Mange, parvovirus and or canine distemper were partly responsible but the misguided Montana hunt did it’s part to reduce their numbers. If you remember Montana opened it’s hunt in the backcountry, right outside the borders of Yellowstone.  The famed Cottonwood pack was decimated, specifically alpha female 527F, her mate and daughter.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel since those wolves certainly were not expecting to be shot. They had lived their whole lives unmolested in the park and routinely crossed over Yellowstone boundaries, since they can’t read signs. 

“While parvovirus and mange continue to reduce the population, part of this year’s decline can be traced to the fact that wolves lost protection in the Northern Rockies under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Wolves, like all wildlife, are protected inside the park, but when they roam beyond the borders, they fall into the state’s wildlife management practices. Idaho and Montana, which border Yellowstone, permitted hunting of wolves this fall. Idaho recently extended its hunt until March.”

Anti wolf detractors constantly talk about wolves reproducing themselves each year to make up for the fallen. Wolves on the contrary are not like coyotes, they don’t tolerate rapid change well, especially when there are wolf hunts, Wildlife Services War on Wolves, mange, parvovirus and wolf territorial disputes all coming together at once, it seems wolves are mortal after all. 

“The wolves have it hard enough inside the park,” says Rolf Peterson, a wildlife biologist at Michigan Technological University. “The Yellowstone wolves should be treated like national treasures and protected.”

Wolf watchers are lamenting the decline of wolves in North Yellowstone.  The beloved Druids, now number only ten members AND are battling mange, which was introduced by the state of Montana in 1905 to eradicate the wolf population Hard to believe but it’s true.  Mange in humans is called scabies. 

So the once robust wolf population in Yellowstone is down to 116 wolves from the high of 174 wolves in 2003. 

“The gray wolf population is declining, says Doug Smith, the coordinator of the reintroduction efforts and leader of the Yellowstone Wolf Project that studies and manages the wolves. Wolves are killing each other at a higher frequency to compete for elk, their primary food source, which is less abundant now, he says.

“The good times are over,” Smith says. His annual census of the park’s wolf population is expected to be the lowest in 10 years, he said. Smith is still gathering data but says the number of gray wolves in the park will be 116, a 33% drop from 2003, when the population was at an all-time high of 174.”

Living on an island like Yellowstone has it’s consequences for wolves.  With the introduction of hunts, wolves dare not venture outside the park, which makes the chance of dispersal and genetic exchange even more difficult.

Being a wolf in Yellowstone and throughout the Northern Rockies in general,  is as hard as it’s ever been since their reintroduction.  Stopping the wolf hunts and the assault by Wildlife Services will go a long way to help them recover.  I’m hoping Judge Molloy agrees.

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Gray wolf population declining in Yellowstone

Updated December 15, 2009

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2009-12-14-Wolves_N.htm

 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Yellowstone wolves, biodiversity, wolf recovery

Tags: Yellowstone wolves, Montana wolf hunt, wolf recovery, Wildlife Services

 

Montana’s Wolf Killing Season Is Over

One hour after sunset today Montana’s wolf killing season will be over, thank goodness.  

The hunt is ending two weeks earlier than expected.  The quota of dead wolves has almost been reached.  The hunt was shut down today because as of Sunday 72 wolves had been killed, not counting the 3 poached wolves in the North Fork.  May this be the last wolf hunt we’ll see in Montana, after Judge Molloy rules on the pending litigation.

We’re  all so much better off now that Yellowstone’s Cottonwood pack  alphas and their daughter, the five wolves in the North Fork, three of them poached are dead along with the rest of the wolves that lost their lives to the Montana hunt, for no other reason except an intolerance of another species by some people.  Yes, the world is a much better place without those wolves.  Now there will be enough elk to hunt until the end of time ….”shrugs sarcastically”

Meanwhile Idaho is considering whether to extend their December 31st wolf kill deadline. Already two Idaho wolf kill zones extend to March 31st, smack dab through wolf mating season. The Sawtooth and Lolo zones are located in north-central Idaho, they each have a seven month wolf hunting season.  I guess Idaho Fish and Game wants to make sure they waste all 220 wolves in the quota. 104 wolves have been gunned down in Idaho since the hunts began on September 1, 2009.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons 

Categories posted in: Montana wolf hunt, wolf wars

Tags: Montana wolf hunt, wolves in the crossfire

Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 6:31 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Controversy Surrounds Wolves Poached In North Fork

Three wolves were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead recently but the quota of allowable hunted wolves was not changed in response to those illegal acts.  Montana FWP defended their non-action on the premise that wolves die from lots of things so they just worked the poached wolf numbers into general wolf mortality.  Sorry I’m not buying it.  Three wolves were illegally shot and the guy that shot two of them, Randy Houk from Columbia Falls, Mt,  got off with a fine.  He didn’t lose his hunting license, because supposedly he cooperated with authorities.  So what, give him a gold star and still take away his hunting license.  Altogether five wolves were lost in the North Fork.  Two to hunting and three to poaching.  Why not stronger poaching consequences?

There are two North Fork wolf packs that den in the relative safety of Glacier National Park, the Dutch Pack and Kintla Pack.  Before wolf hunting started these packs were safe to roam, as wolves have been doing in the North Fork for the last thirty years.  Unfortunately, like Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, they don’t read signs and regularly cross back and forth across park boundaries.

Why are wolves being “managed” as replaceable units with the “wolf is a wolf is wolf” approach? The loss of alphas can destroy a pack, as we saw in the recent slaying of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood alphas.  Defenders of Wildlife spoke out on this issue stating poached wolves should be counted in the quota. 

In the meantime wolf hunting marches on with 98 dead wolves in Idaho and 64 + 3 poached wolves in Montana.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in: Glacier National Park, Montana wolf hunt, North Fork,

Tags: wolf poaching, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf

Montana and Idaho Close Two Wolf Hunt Kill Zones Today

the wolf hunt

MONTANA

Montana FWP closed the North Fork of the Flathead sub-unit wolf  kill zone.  The area had a quota of two wolves, which was reached today.  Three wolves were also poached in that area and FWP did not re-adjust the quota downward after the poaching incidents, as many people felt they should.  But then even talking about numbers of dead wolves is a grim business. 

In Montana, 59 wolves have been shot and killed by hunters, since the wolf hunt started on September 15, 2009, not including the three poached wolves.  Nineteen more wolves will lose their lives before the guns are silenced and the hunt is over.

We can’t bring the dead wolves back but we can work to see this doesn’t happen again next year.   Because the Obama Administration went forward with the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, they are now being hunted, mere months after losing their Endangered Species protections.  I’m extremely disappointed in this administration for the actions they took to endanger gray wolves recovery.  So much for Obama’s campaign mantra of “Yes We Can”…it should have been… “Business As Usual“.  Shame!

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Wolf hunt closed west of Glacier National Park after Monday morning kill at Big Creek

http://www.missoulian.com/news/local/article_33bc673e-cd8f-11de-9c5f-001cc4c03286.html

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IDAHO

Idaho closed the McCall-Weiser wolf kill zone after the quota of 15 dead wolves was reached.  This is the second wolf kill zone to be closed out of twelve.  Idaho set a quota to kill almost one fourth of their wolves this hunting season.  220 wolves will die from a population of approx 850 to 1000.  

98 wolves have died since wolf hunting season opened in Idaho on September 1, 2009.  122 more wolves will lose their lives in Idaho before the hunting season closes.  Idaho’s wolf hunt continues until March 31, 2010, right through wolf mating season.  Double whammy for the wolves who’ll be trying to survive, mate and dodge hunters bullets!! 

The hunts in Idaho and Montana were the result of pressure from ranchers, hunters and outfitters to reduce the wolf populations even though wolves kill very few livestock and elk are thriving in both states. The hunts fly in the face of science and common sense but the wolf is a political football used to flame passions and advance political agendas.  Shame again!

Wolf season closes in McCall zone

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2009/nov/09/wolf-season-closes-mccall-zone/

NOTE:  I’ve purposely made a point to call the areas or zones the states have mapped out for killing wolves, exactly what they are, kill zones.  You won’t ever hear me use the word  harvest, which is FWP’s euphemism for killing. 

Photo: Wikemedia Commons

Categories posted in:  Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, Glacier National Park Wolf Wars

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, wolf intolerence, wolves in the crossfire

Wolf Hunts…..Ignoring the Science?

soda butte yellowstone national park

Wolf photo by SigmaEye on Flickr

The drama wages on, it’s Wolf Wars, Part Two.  We exterminated them in the West once, is this the sequel?

Three wolves were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead in Montana, close to Glacier National Park.  Everyone was expecting the quota numbers to be adjusted downward but they would be wrong because you see it’s all about the numbers.  Wildlife “managers” like Sime states Montana researchers have tracked wolves for a long time and know what they’re doing.  They have mathematical models they’re following about how many wolves we can afford to lose. Apparently, according to FWP, 5 to 8 percent of Montana’s wolves are killed by humans each year, so these poached wolves are just added to that percentage.

Disposable?  Convenient huh??

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“On average, Sime said, people kill between

5 percent and 8 percent of Montana’s wolf population each year. Armed with that data, and with total wolf numbers – births, deaths, dispersals, arrivals – wildlife managers used computer models to “create a range of scenarios” that simulated the state’s first-ever fair chase wolf hunt.

At one end of the modeling spectrum was a quota of about 200, and at the other was no hunt at all. They landed, finally, somewhere in the middle – a statewide hunting quota of 75. That’s about 15 percent of the state’s estimated 550 wolves.

The two wolves poached by the Columbia Falls man, as well as another poached in the same general area, had already been accounted for in Montana’s “biologically conservative” system, Sime said.”

http://www.missoulian.com/news/local/article_15989c18-c6a1-11de-93ff-001cc4c002e0.html

That really makes me feel confident. Apparently the “wolf managers” are so busy calculating numbers of dead wolves they might be missing out on the research that does not support the hunts as a way to “manage” them.

It turns out, older wolves are not great hunters.  Apparently wolf hunting skills peak at age two to three,  by age four, wolves are considered old.

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“Shortly after gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, Daniel MacNulty was puzzled by something. The breeding pair in one of the packs frequently stopped during their elk hunts to rest. “They sat on the sidelines while their offspring did the work,” says MacNulty, an ecologist from Michigan Technological University in Houghton. “After their kids made the kill, they would amble up to feed.”Laziness? Not at all. The two were almost 5 years old, which MacNulty has learned is fairly old age for wolves. His new study is one of the first to look at the effects of aging in predators, and it raises questions about current methods of controlling wolf populations.

alpha female yellowstones hayden valley pack SigmaEye

(Alpha Female Yellowstone Hayden Pack: Photo Sigma Eye Flicker)

Nulty has followed 94 radio-collared wolves in Yellowstone for 13 years, closely monitoring their hunts for two 30-day periods during each of those years. His research on these individual canids shows that wolves age rapidly. Indeed, by age 2 they’re in their hunting prime, drawing on youthful endurance and sudden bursts of speed to take down elk. But just as quickly, they lose that talent, MacNulty’s team reports online in Ecology Letters. “Wolves are old when they’re 4,” he says. The median life span for wolves in Yellowstone is 6 years, although some have lived as long as 10. Those older wolves manage to survive because the younger ones in their pack pick up the slack, killing elk and letting all the pack members feed. Older wolves are also heftier and may come in at the end of a hunt to use their weight to help pull down the elk, says MacNulty.

As one might expect, aging predators are good news for prey. The wolves’ kill rate on elk in Yellowstone declined significantly as the number of geriatric hunters in the wolf population increased. And that could have cascading effects on the ecosystem. For instance, elk may linger and browse on woody plants when elderly wolves are around. More browsing could slow the recovery of willows and aspen trees, which have come back since the wolves’ reintroduction.”

 http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1023/1?etoc

So it seems the indiscriminate hunting  going on will have the opposite effect of what “wolf managers” are aiming  for,  pun intended.  With the killing of older wolves and alphas and disruption and chaos in packs, younger and younger wolves will be filling the gaps, increasing the chances of livestock depredation.

The whole livestock issue is just another reason to kill wolves, I’m seriously tired of hearing about cows.  It’s not as if these animals are rancher’s beloved pets.  They’re raised to be eaten and suffer a cruel death when sent to slaughter.   Ranchers are also reimbursed by the feds and Defenders of Wildlife for every confirmed wolf kill.  But wolves kill such a small percentage of livestock,  yet all we hear about is wolf predation, when it’s weather, calving and disease that are responsible for over 90% of cattle losses. As for predators, coyotes kill 20 times more cattle then wolves and DOMESTIC DOGS kill FIVE TIMES  more cattle then wolves.  But of course those numbers fall on deaf ears because when it comes to the wolf, facts don’t seem to matter.

The killing of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood alpha’s, at the beginning of Montana’s hunt, was the result of poor planning, IMO.  How can you not know hunters were going to line up at the park boundaries, waiting for Yellowstone’s wolves to cross over, which they routinely do, since they can’t read signs.  Because of that, Yellowstone lost collared wolves,  that were part of ongoing research, especially the Cottonwood alpha female, wolf 527F.

yellowstones 527

(Wolf 527F while tranquilized, before her death)

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“Wolf 527 and her daughter, 716, originated from two of the best-known packs in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, the scene of numerous documentaries. For years, the movements of the Lamar packs have been monitored by biologists equipped with radio tracking devices and powerful spotting telescopes.

“They sold this wolf hunt in Montana and Idaho as controlling the predation on cattle and what-not. Well, these wolves aren’t touching cattle. They’re feeding on elk. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Tom Murphy, a wildlife photographer who has been documenting the Yellowstone wolves.

“This is the home ground of all of them, the nursery, the definition of what a healthy ecosystem looks like,” he said. “And it drives me crazy that (hunters are) standing on the boundary of the park … and killing the ones with radio collars, that people watch every day.”

The demise of 716, often known as Dark Female, was reported Sept. 29 in a blog posting…….. Five days later, she followed up with another item, this time about 527.”

http://www.missoulian.com/article_6ffa4660-c6a2-11de-8e13-001cc4c002e0.html

“The loss of 527F leaves a hole in research that had been under way at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere, said Daniel MacNulty, a U of M research associate.

“The gold standard in studies of animals in the wild is being able to repeatedly measure the same individual over time,” MacNulty said.
 
Knock out one or more of those individuals from a study, and years of work documenting behavior from reproduction to hunting success also is lost..
 
The re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone in 1995 provided an unprecedented opportunity for such studies. Relatively large numbers of wolves could live there through natural life spans that weren’t disrupted by hunting and other outside pressures.”
Cutting edge wolf research is at odds with the approach  of  “managing” wolves by  hunting them.
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“Members of the commission and state wildlife managers have acknowledged a mistake in the decision to open early season hunting next to Yellowstone,”…….
 
The Yellowstone wolf project, partially funded by a $480,000, five-year National Science Foundation grant, isn’t the only study adversely affected by the hunting, Science says. The slaughter of the Yellowstone wolves also is a blow to a host of studies into elk management, ecology and other subjects.
 
Big bad wolves? Not the old ones
 
A study MacNulty and his colleagues at the U of M have just completed is an example of the kind of research Science says could be jeopardized. The research team is from the College of Biological Sciences’ Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the university. MacNulty also is connected with Michigan Technological University in Houghton where scientists study wolves on Isle Royale National Park.
 “It is well known that wolves prey on elk. This is one of the first field studies to gauge whether age of the wolves makes any difference. The researchers spent more than 13 years following 527F and dozens of other radio-collared wolves, observing their hunts from airplanes and taking various measures of their physical abilities.
 
Their findings in a nutshell: Wild wolves — like great human sprinters, NBA stars and competitive swimmers — need to score while they are young, because they peak early.
 
“By age one, they are quite effective hunters,” MacNulty said. “Wolves don’t live very long so there is a lot of pressure from an evolutionary standpoint to quickly develop an ability to hunt in order to feed themselves and their offspring.”
 
Unlike mountain lions — with their short snouts, powerful muscles and retractable claws — wolves need speed to bring down their prey.
 
“They lack physical characteristics to kill prey swiftly, so they rely on athletic ability and endurance, which diminishes with age,” MacNulty said. “They’re like 100-meter sprinters. They need to be in top condition to perform.”
 
Although most wolves in Yellowstone live for about six years, their killing ability peaks when they are two to three years old, the U of M team found. After that, they rely on younger wolves to share their kills.
 
In other words, the higher the proportion of wolves older than three, the lower the rate at which they kill elk.

So why were these wolves killed?  Supposedly the hunts are all about teaching the big, bad wolves a lesson about preying on cattle but what was 527F doing?  She was standing a mile outside the park boundaries in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Facing her killer, I’m sure she had no idea she was about to be shot to death.  She had survived so much in her seven years. She was a “good” wolf, who was very reclusive, hard to find.  She was minding her own business. Yet she’s dead along with her mate and daughter, wolf 716, essentially decimating the Cottonwood Pack.  For what?  So someone could get a cheap thrill killing a wolf?  Or we could read more stories about guys chasing wolves on ATV’s and blowing them away with Remington 300 rifles?

Yellowstone Hayden Valley Pack Member
Even though research points to leaving wolves alone to live out their lives,  letting nature balance itself, it seems the people running this “dog and pony show” are going in the opposite direction.
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“Most managers who want to boost numbers of elk and deer think all you need to do is kill wolves,” ecologist Christopher Wilmers of the University of California, Santa Cruz told ScienceNOW. “But this study shows you’re probably increasing your problem, since you’ll end up with younger wolves that kill more prey.”

That’s because when a pack vanishes or is weakened and loses its territory, he says, younger wolves often move in.

“You’re better off leaving the wolves alone,” Wilmers said.
http://www.minnpost.com/stories/2009/10/27/12851/death_of_a_wolf_raises_questions_about_research

 

Contrary to all the good science, which concludes  indiscriminate  killing of wolves, with no regard to age or status in the pack, is a mistake, we are still marching forward with these misguided hunts.

The question has to be asked, what are the hunts really all about?

Wolves are not the problem, people are the problem. It’s the human self righteous attitude, that we alone are soverign over this earth, that we have the right to destroy anything that gets in our way.  That is the problem.

The intolerance and arrogance are astounding.  I’m sorry if I’m not interested in mathematical models concerning killing wolves. Is anyone in “wolf management” thinking about pack structure, the loss of alpha’s, the loss of pups or the killing off of older wolves?  Where is this dialog among people coordinating the hunts?  All I hear from the “managers’  is numbers, numbers, numbers. They pronounce  it won’t make any difference, that the NUMBERS are insignificant.  I”m wondering insignificant to who?  Certainly not to me and other wolf supporters.  We view these hunts with heavy hearts.

“Biologically, [the loss] has no impact, since wolf packs turn over all the time,” Edward Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Helena told Science. “It doesn’t make any difference to wolf conservation or wolf research.”

http://www.minnpost.com/stories/2009/10/27/12851/death_of_a_wolf_raises_questions_about_research

It all seems to be taken so lightly, what’s a few hundred wolves, give or take a few? It’s as if wolves have no social structure or life at all.  That if you kill one wolf another will automatically take it’s place,  Ignoring the intricate bonds that hold wolf packs together. Ignoring Yellowstone wolves had a 27% decline  in 2008.  Ignoring the fact the Druid Peak pack lost all their eight pups. Ignoring the fact  the Druids and other Yellowstone packs are plagued with mange. Yes, individual wolves matter!  Wolves are not indestructable.  They’re not as adaptable, as say coyotes.

I hope the NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife make a big impression with their wolf ads in Times Square and the New York Times, to let people back in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina and the rest of America know they’re out here in the West killing wolves AGAIN. in the name of ranching and hunting interests.   Maybe then other voices will be heard, ones that don’t have a vested interest in dead wolves. That think having wild wolves inhabiting their Western home range is something to cheer about.  People that see the wolf as an Icon of the West representing  freedoms we’re quickly losing, not a pest to be eradicated.  Then,  just possibly, the guns will be silenced!!

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Ageing wolves ‘lose their bite’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8325000/8325800.stm

Categories posted in: Montana wolf hunts, wolf wars, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone wolves

Tags: wolf poaching, Montana wolf hunt, wolves in the crossfire,  Yellowstone wolves

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